A break from the artworks – lets look at the exciting world of cross-platform radio remote TTL flash for Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm, Sony, Canon, Nikon, Sigma, Pentax users – our world has changed!

Written by admin on July 28th, 2017

Until recently if you wanted to do radio remote TTL flash, you needed a Canon dSLR with a Canon-compatible flash and a radio remote system, or a Nikon dSLR with a Nikon-compatible flash and a radio remote system.

Initially these radio remote systems were provided by companies such as PocketWizard or RadioPopper, and then a couple of years ago both Canon then Nikon added their own radio remote TTL flash to their latest cameras and flashes.

The PocketWizard system particularly became very popular with the professional photographers and is renown for its reliability, build quality and the early ground breaking ability to not only provide remote TTL flash and HSS flash and pas-through TTL to a top-mounted hotshoe but also its proprietary HyperSync which allowed full output flash at marginally faster than usual shutter speeds without the power output loss that HSS flash caused.

Unfortunately, Pocket Wizard failed to recognise the ground swell of mirrorless cameras and increasing cross-system ownership that has resulted and although they did create a remote system which supported the Panasonic GH4, in general their receivers would not fire Olympus flashes even in manual mode let alone TTL mode with Olympus cameras, and of course if you owned a couple of camera systems you had to have a different set of Pocket Wizard units (Flex TT5/TT6/MiniTT1)  for each camera system, and there was, and still is, no mix and matching of systems in TTL mode.

But its now mid-2017, and we are in a totally new scene thanks to Cactus V6 II remote system and the Godox remote system – both of which offer cross-platform radio remote TTL flash albeit with different approaches.

If I were to buy a flash unit or studio flash now, I would strongly consider how it would be used for my Olympus, Sony and Canon cameras with either or both of the two new systems – neither of which are perfect but a vast improvement on what we currently have, and far better than the rubbish optical remote RC mode of the Olympus system (yes, I love Olympus but I am not paid by any company including Olympus who have never offered me any freebies or special discounts and so yes, I am able to call them out when I feel it is appropriate – that said perhaps they have done us all a big favour in allowing these new third party solutions to come to the party and solve our problems).

Let’s compare the two cross-platform approaches to radio remote TTL flash:

The Cactus V6 II approach:

This is the more cost effective approach, particularly if you have existing flash units – you just buy 1 transceiver to mount on the camera and another to mount on your digital-TTL capable flash (the flash will need to be either Canon, Nikon or Olympus digital TTL capable – not Pentax unless you are also using a Pentax camera, and not Fujifilm unless you are also using a Fujifilm camera).

These transceivers are able to AUTO-Detect the camera or flash system (although there are a few gotchas and workarounds – see later).

This means you could buy 5 units, place one on your Olympus camera’s hotshoe (which can optionally also mount any digital TTL flash unit as outlined above) and attach one to each of a Canon 580EXII flash, an Olympus FL50R flash, a Godox TT685 flash and a Nikon SB-900 flash and ALL will fire with radio remote TTL exposures with flash exposure compensation in 0.1EV increments and separate for each (if they are assigned to one of the 4 possible radio groups)  and optionally in HSS/FP mode for faster shutter speeds and wider apertures, or one of the two Group Sequence modes, remote manual flash zoom, and even in the Cactus proprietary Power Sync mode which allows a faster than usual shutter speed at full flash output – now that is cool – and yet there is much more it can do including display all flash unit power outputs, Delay mode, AF assist light and remote camera shutter release!

Decide to use your Canon dSLR to shoot instead, cool, just turn the transceiver off, put it on the Canon, let it auto-detect and away you go.

Working in an environment with lots of other photographers using the same system which is causing cross firing – no problem, just set all your transceivers to the same 4 digit RADIO ID value.

If you are running a workshop and want other users to fire your flash set up – no problem – just make sure they are using the same radio ID and turn on Multi-Master mode each photographer can choose their own exposure compensation settings – just try to avoid firing at the same time as someone else!

As an alternative, you can buy a very affordable Cactus RF60X flash unit which already has a remote transceiver built in so this saves you money and complexity.

Some gotchas and workarounds of the Cactus V6 II system:

  • there is a special Sony version of the transceiver (V6 IIs) which is required if you wish to attach to either a Sony camera or a Sony-mount flash, but it can essentially achieve the same as the above.
  • requires firmware upgrade for cross-platform compatibility, the Olympus/Panasonic/Micro Four Thirds compatibility should be available August 2017.
  • as with the Godox system, it operates in the 2.4GHz radio frequency range and this may have issues with interference at times and is generally limited to 100m
  • READ the MANUAL: to auto-detect camera system, half-press the shutter release of camera while switching on the V6 II to TX mode
  • Power Sync may require the user to adjust the sync time in order to eliminate any banding issues (black line across the image).
  • Cactus V6 II does not work with Cactus V4, V2s or V2 flash trigger models (but is compatible with V6 but not in HSS mode, and with V5 for basic non-TTL modes only including flash triggering and shutter release triggering)
  • there is a limited range (currently 60 units) of currently available flash units that are automatically usable with this system – others will require you to create your own custom flash profile on your computer and upload it to the transceiver (this can store up to 10 such profiles) and then you will need to manually select which profile to use for the flash.
  • some cameras have a  thicker than usual metal spring plate in the hotshoe which can interfere with the flash contacts and this may need to be removed (easily done) – examples include some Olympus OM-D E-M1 and Fujifilm models
  • the hotshoe locking pin position is optimised for Canikon and thus there may be some mechanical instability on other systems, when using Olympus flashes, moving it 0.5mm may remedy this, but there may still be issues on the camera and this becomes more risky if you are mounting a flash onto the camera-mounted transceiver as the weight may cause it to fall off.
  • there is limited compatibility with some cameras including:
    • Nikon D600 and Panasonic GX-8 camera are not fully compatible with HSS mode when used with a Cactus RF60 flash (but presumably the RF60X is OK)
    • high-speed sync modes not supported on Fujifilm X-E2 / XE2S, Fujifilm X100T cameras, and, Fujifilm flashes do not support HSS capabilities.

The Godox X1 approach:

Godox have really taken massive strides towards world domination of enthusiast and pro lighting (and their sudden rise in popularity perhaps may be part of the reason for Bowens lighting company apparently going out of business – although the Bowens name will live on thanks to the Bowens S mount which is one of the more universal lighting accessory mounts – including for the Godox studio style lights).

In the first instance they brought to the market their lovely, powerful and versatile portable flash units with lithium ion batteries and battery packs which have made strobists all over the world jump for joy.

Next, they upped the ante substantially this year when they announced cross-platform support.

Unlike the Cactus system (other than the dedicated Cactus V6 II Sony module), the Godox remote transceivers require a system dedicated transceiver attached to the camera hotshoe such as:

  • for Olympus or Panasonic cameras either:
  • for Canon cameras, X1C TTL Wireless Flash Trigger
  • for Nikon cameras, X1N TTL Wireless Flash Trigger
  • for Sony cameras, the X1S TTL Wireless Flash Trigger
  • for Fuji cameras, the X1T-F TTL Wireless Flash Trigger

Each of these camera mounted X1 triggers have a TTL-pass-through top hotshoe.

Like the Cactus system with their Cactus RX60X, there are Godox flash units with inbuilt receivers and a very nice range of units there are such as:

  • Godox Wistro AD600 portable 600Ws lithium ion battery studio flash with ability to be used with either a 600Ws or incredible 1200Ws flash head (this requires two AD600′s to power it), and optional lithium ion battery pack and Bowens or Godox mount studio lighting accessories such as softboxes
  • Godox Wistro AD360II - a more portable option but it is regarded as too heavy to mount on a camera, usually used with hand grip and power pack and strobists accessories
  • Godox Wistro AD200 pocket flash
  • Godox Wistro AR400 ring flash
  • Godox V860II-O - similar to an Olympus FL-50R in that it can use the Olympus optical RC system as master or slave, but in addition it can be used as a slave (and perhaps as a master according to web page specs) for the Godox  X1 system, and it uses a 2000mAh lithium ion battery pack for 650 full power shots per full battery charge

Unlike the Cactus system, if you wish to fire a non-Godox flash unit in remote TTL mode, you will need a different Receiver unit and specifically, one that matches the flash system, thus, for a Canon flash you will need the X1R-C receiver to attach the the Canon flash.

A brief side-by-side comparison:

 

Cactus V6 II Godox X1
Price $US95 per transceiver
$US46 for transceiver
types of units needed only 1 type BUT need a different one for a Sony camera or flash need a different one for each camera system, and a different receiver for each system of non-Godox X1 flash, for example, a XTR-16, XTR-16S receiver
radio frequency 2.4GHz, range up to 100m
2.4GHz, range up to 100m
radio groups 4
5
radio channels 16 32
Radio ID 4 digit
?
HSS / FP mode most cameras (except Fujifilm flashes)
most cameras except Fujifilm?
front/rear curtain sync Yes
Yes
Multi-flash strobe mode Yes
Yes
flash exposure compensation Yes, +/- 3EV in 0.1EV increments
Yes, +/- 3EV in 1/3rd EV increments
remote manual zoom control Yes
Yes
AF assist lamp Yes 1W LED
Yes manual open
Multi-Master mode Yes, up to 20 photographers
?
Power sync mode Yes but needs user to configure
No
Flash delay mode Yes 1msec to 999 secs
0-10msec for synch delay adjustment
hotshoe locks into Olympus cameras to avoid slippage No (lock pin slightly out as optimised for Canikon) Yes (X1T-O)
PC sync socket Yes
Yes
USB firmware upgradeable Yes Yes
Can remotely trigger camera shutter release via cable Yes “Relay mode” – also available is a laser motion detection trigger to radio remotely act on the V6 II ?
power supply 2 x AA batteries 2 x AA batteries
size 72x72x42mm, 96g
72x75x52mm, 90g
ease of use must set to auto detect when starting, but otherwise fairly universal plug and play
camera-dedicated transceivers do not need to auto detect
low power output for short flash exposures 1/256th output
1/128th output only?
lock flash exposures Yes Yes
display power of each flash unit Yes ?
compatible flash units 60 plus ability to store 10 custom profiles which user can create, or Cactus V6 II specific units such as RF60X
system-specific flashes for the receiver, or Godox X1 compatible flashes including Wistro studio flashes
flash system for TTL mode when mounted on the transceiver on camera any compatible flash – should Auto-detect?? only that transceiver’s flash system?

 

Which system should you buy?

If you need to purchase new flash units, and in particular, the awesome units such as the Wistro AD600 or AD360II, then it makes sense to go with the Godox system as you just need the flash units and the system specific transmitter for each camera system you own.

If you already have a mix of flashes, or you wish to use the special features of the cactus system such as Power Sync, then the Cactus V6II transceivers would be the way to go.

It would not be entirely crazy to have BOTH systems for different needs.

It does alter which flash units I would invest in though, and perhaps the 3rd party flashes may be the best approach although there is always a risk the camera manufacturers introduce incompatibities, but it is likely that Cactus and Godox will be able to address these through firmware updates.

For more information on remote TTL flash, see my wikipedia pages.

 

The beautiful Musee D’Orsay – a must see art gallery in Paris – part II

Written by admin on July 26th, 2017

Part II of my little exposé of the wonderful Musee D’Orsay art gallery.

Let’s go onto some more of my favorite artworks – the gallery boasts an incredible range of beautiful nudes which I will limit here to hopefully ensure viewing is not an issue in workplaces although there is a bold male nude as an allegory to war at the end of this post!

These were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera with the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 pro lens.

Vincent van Gogh La Nuit étoilée (Starry night) 1888:

D'Orsay

Eugene Jansson Gryning over Ridderfjarden 1899:

D'Orsay

Edgar Degas Répétition d’un ballet sur la scène 1874, well we all know how much Degas loved painting and sculpting the ballet dancers, and he has left us all with his beautiful legacy of works such as this one:

D'Orsay

Edouard Manet La Dame aux éventails 1873:

D'Orsay

Pierre Auguste Renoir Danse à la ville 1883. one of my favorite painters who showed you don’t need the anatomic proportions to always be correct to have an aesthetic image (a yes, he often gets a bit of flack for this), and furthermore was brave enough to put blues and greens together without anything between in the majority of his works.

D'Orsay

Paul Cezanne Les Jouers de cartes 1890-95:

D'Orsay

Edgar Degas Danseuses bleues 1893:

D'Orsay

Claude Monet Femme à l’ombrelle tournée vers la gauche 1886:

D'Orsay

Edouard Manet Sur la plage 1873:

D'Orsay

Pierre Auguste Renoir La Liseuse 1874-76:

D'Orsay

Berthe Morisot Le Berceau 1872:

D'Orsay

Pierre Auguste Renoir Bal du moulin de la Galette 1876:

D'Orsay

Paul Cezanne Louis-Auguste Cezanne – the artist’s father 1866:

D'Orsay

Paul Cezanne Dominique – the artist’s uncle 1866-67:

D'Orsay

Luc Olivier Merson (1846-1920) La Fortune:

D'Orsay

Henri Camille Danger Fléau 1901, an allegory of war and a rather bold recent acquisition by the gallery to expand their late Academic period works – turn away now if you cannot cope with a full frontal male nude:

D'Orsay

Just Becquet L’Abîme marble 1901 (This apparently translates as the abyss):

D'Orsay

 

The beautiful Musee D’Orsay – a must see art gallery in Paris – part I

Written by admin on July 25th, 2017

The Musee D’Orsay has to be one of my favorite art galleries with its art works primarily from the late 19th century and early 20th century, dominated by beautiful sculptures, and paintings from the Romanticism, Pre-Raphaelite, Symbolist and French Impressionism movements to name a few, and set in the wonderfully transformed train station.

It does have a rather strange lack of toilets though, and the only one I found had a long line of ladies queued up and forced to stand outside the open door of the men’s room with full view of the line of urinals – well when in Paris, you just have to not worry about these things – although I suspect it was more awkward for the ladies who are not used to such experiences!

But let’s go onto some of my favorite artworks – although the gallery boasts an incredible range of beautiful nudes which I will limit here to ensure viewing is not an issue in workplaces.

These were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera with the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 pro lens.

I had to adjust the lights a bit for this one :)

D'Orsay

Amaury-Duval Madame de Loynes 1862:

D'Orsay

Ernest Hébert La Lavandera ou Jeune lavandiére songuese 1869:

D'Orsay

Honoré Daumier Crispin et Scapin 1864:

D'Orsay

Maxwell Armfield Faustine 1904:

D'Orsay

Edward Burne-Jones Princess Sabra 1865:

D'Orsay

Ford Madox Brown a pioneer in the Pre-Raphaelite movement – Haydée découvrant le corps de Don Juan 1878:

D'Orsay

Edgard Maxence La Légende bretonne 1906:

D'Orsay

Ferdinand Hodler Madame Valentine Godé-Darel malade 1914:

D'Orsay

Gustave Moreau Orphée 1865 (Moreau continues the myth of Orpheus, with the vision of a girl dressed in Oriental finery rescuing the poet’s head which rests on his lyre, and the girl is gazing at him with a melancholy air. The diagonal compositions suggests a playing card, in which the musicians in the top left corner are balanced by the turtles, lower right, whose carapace, according to the myth, was used to make the first lyre – Moreau counts as a decisive figure in the Symbolist movement):

D'Orsay

Gustave Moreau Hésiode et la Muse 1891:

D'Orsay

Henri de Toulouse-Laetrec Rousse (La Toilette) 1889:

D'Orsay

Henri de Toulouse-Laetrec Femme de profil Madame Lucy 1896:

D'Orsay

Philipe de Laszlo La comtesse Anna de Noailles 1913:

D'Orsay

Pablo Picasso La Buveuse d’absinthe dit aussi Buveuse accoudée 1901:

D'Orsay

Henri de Toulouse-Laetrec Au Nouveau Cirque, Papa Chrysantheme 1894:

D'Orsay

A. Carrier Belleuse 1873:

D'Orsay

Denys Puech Sirene 1889:

D'Orsay

Gustave Courbet L’Atelier du peintre 1855:

D'Orsay

Jean-Francois Millet Femme nue couchée 1844-1845:

D'Orsay

It is indeed a privilege to be able to view these works in reality, and it is not something to be taken for granted with the world going crazy yet again and destruction of culture rampant.

 

Monet’s water lilies and the Musee D’Orangerie in Paris – some of my favorite artworks from the gallery

Written by admin on July 21st, 2017

The Musee D’Orangerie is adjacent to the Louvre and is a wonderful art gallery mainly of late 19th century and early 20th century art works, but in particular, Claude Monet’s water lily series.

These were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera with Olympus mZD 7-14mm f/2.8 pro lens such as the above and below image, and the Olympus mZD 25mm f/1.2 pro lens.

Here are some of Claude Monet’s famous water lily paintings:

Monet

Monet

Monet

Monet

Monet

Despite their dominance in the gallery, there is far more to see such as these:

Claude Monet’s Argenteuile 1875:

D'Orangerie

Pablo Picasso’s Femme au tambourin 1925:

D'Orangerie

Paul Cezanne’s Arbres et maisons 1885-86:

D'Orangerie

Henri Matisse’s Les trois soeurs 1916-17:

D'Orangerie

Marie Laurencin’s Danseuses espagnoles 1920-21:

D'Orangerie

The unmistakable style of Amedeo Modigliani and in this case, Femme au ruban de velours 1915:

D'Orangerie

Maurice Utrillo (1883-1955), who even in his early life was plagued with mental illness, was essentially raised by his grandmother, and was the son of an 18 yr old artist’s model with speculation that his father may have been Renoir or one of the other artists she had modeled for. He was born in Montmartre and like many artists, lived a very bohemian life style. His mental illness was exacerbated by alcoholism and he spent some time in mental asylums.

I am guessing these ladies walking with a painter made Maurice Utrillo’s world go round after the war ended – La Maison Bernot 1924 – the bell tower of the Sacré Coeur basilica which was completed in 1912 was cropped when I took the photo and is not shown:

D'Orangerie

Gustave Moreau’s La Toilette 1885-90:

D'Orangerie

Pablo Picasso’s Saltimbanque aux bras croises 1923:

D'Orangerie

And, for something completely different – Hans Hartung’s T 1963 K7 1963:

D'Orangerie

 

Berlin’s Bode Museum – sculptures and paintings from 11th to 18th centuries

Written by admin on July 19th, 2017

It seems the Bode Museum is one of the less frequented stops for tourists in Berlin – perhaps because it is hidden down the back part of Museum Island, perhaps because most tourists have had enough of museums by the time they have seen the Pergamon, Neues Museum and Alte Nationalgalerie, or perhaps they have just had enough of religious and mythological artworks which dominated their experiences in Florence.

And yet, I was pleasantly surprised by the museum and it’s grand entrance hall boded well for a nice quiet experience (pardon the pun):

Bode

and yes, I think that was Frederick the Great on his horse again!

These were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera with Olympus mZD 7-14mm f/2.8 pro lens such as the above and below image, and the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 pro lens.

The rear staircase with various statues including a central figure of Frederick The Great:

Bode

Frederick the Great:

Bode

Adam and Eve by Lucas Cranach (1472-1553) 1533, hmm check out the expression on the lion!:

Bode

Mars, Venus and Cupid by Peter Paul Rubens c1636:

Bode

The Prophet Isaiah by Jacob Cornelisz Cobaert 16th C, alabaster:

Bode

The Three Graces in alabaster by Leonhard Kern 1650. In Greek mythology, the Three Graces or Three Charites were usually regarded as being the minor goddesses Aglaea (“Splendor”), Euphrosyne (“Mirth”), and Thalia (“Good Cheer”) although there were other Graces too – we could all do with more mirth and good cheer!

Bode

Adam and Eve by Georg Pfrundt 1650:

Bode

Two Female Figures by Leonhard Kern 1650:

Bode

Boy as Fountain Figure by Andrea della Robbia of Florence 1490:

Bode

You see how early humans learned to light portraits – this one shows a lovely loop lighting (note the loop like shadow beneath the nose) in shortlit style (the face is lit from the rear side so the shadow side is closest to the viewer making the face look narrower) – we still use this flattering studio lighting today in portrait photography! Portrait of a Young Man by Alessandro Allori (1535-1607) of Florence.

Bode

German tribute to the Italian Renaissance which I believe was originally housed in Berlin’s Basilica built in 1904 but destroyed in WWII:

Bode

A Christian altar piece, I felt at times I was in a Get Smart scene with all these doors about to close on me as I approached – but they didn’t.

Bode

St Mary Magdalene by Henrick van Holt c1530:

Bode

St Mary Magdalene by Henrick van Holt c1530:

Bode

Reclining boy in alabaster by Niederlande 17thC:

Bode

From here on it gets a bit more violent with abductions, betrayals, etc:

Delilah cutting Samson’s hair
without consent while he slept and destroying his strength – by Artus Quellinus 1640:

Bode

Rape of Proserpine by Pluto – Adrian de Vries 1621 in bronze. It seems Venus wanted to bring love to Pluto and sent her son Amor (Cupid) to fire one of his arrows at him. Pluto, the god of the underworld, then came out of Mt Etna’s volcano with four black horses and abducted the goddess Proserpina who was having a good time in Sicily staying with some nymph friends. Pluto’s intention was to take her to the Underworld and make her his wife. Her mother, Ceres, the goddess of agriculture got very upset with this and tramped the world looking for her and in her anger stopped the growth of fruits and created the deserts, starting in Sicily. Pluto’s brother, Jupiter, became worried so sent his son Mercury to order Pluto to free Prosperpina, he obeyed but made her eat six pomegranate seeds which forced her to spend 4-6 months of the year living with him – hence when she comes out into the living world in Spring, the flowers bloom, and when she goes back to the Underworld each year, Winter ensues. Seems a fair explanation of the seasons and why there are deserts!

You might be wondering what rape has to do with it – well in ancient times the word rape actually referred to abduction not the sexual violence per se, but I am guessing most suffered sexual violation too.

Bode

The Rape of the Sabine Woman – Adrian de Vries (1556-1626) in bronze.

I guess I better tell you their story as well!

When Rome was founded by Romulus, he had a problem, lots of male followers but few women. You can’t start an empire like that! Thus the first Romans tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with the surrounding tribes (the Sabines) for their women to be wives. The Romans decided to have a festival and invite people from neighbouring towns including the Sabines. Romulus gave the signal and the Sabine women were abducted and their menfolk fought off and the women were made to marry the Roman men albeit with betrayal of promises made to them.

Bode

Screaming woman by Sudliche Niederlande 16thC – not sure why she is screaming although the loss of her arm may have something to do with it!

Bode

Salome receiving the head of John The Baptist in the Dungeon after she had requested his beheading. Georg Schweigger Werkstatt 1648:

Bode

An 11th century Oliphant (Ivory horn for signalling the end to this post):

Bode

 

Berlin’s Pergamon Museum and the amazing Babylonian Ishtar Gate from 575 BC!

Written by admin on July 17th, 2017

The Pergamon Museum in Berlin is next to the Neues Museum (which houses Nefertiti’s portrait) and the Alte Nationalgalerie – all are a must see while you are in Berlin – the Pergamon tends to have the biggest queues so perhaps get in there early.

These were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera with Olympus mZD 7-14mm f/2.8 pro lens and the Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 pro lens.

The city of Babylon and its impregnable blue walls and gates must have looked amazing and to think it was 2500 years ago – the gate was covered in lapis lazuli, a deep-blue semi-precious stone that was revered in antiquity due to its vibrancy – an amazing beacon in all of the Middle East – here is the Persian Ishtar Gate constructed in about 575 BCE by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II dedicated to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, but only the smaller 15m high gate is re-constructed here in the museum (the larger gate is in storage) – they were originally obtained by the German excavation of Babylon in 1899-1917:

Pergamon

Detail of the colored glazed bricks which here are composites of the original brick fragments, these extensive Walls of Babylon were considered one of the original Seven Wonders of the World (until replaced by the 3rdC BC Lighthouse of Alexandria). The original wall was cemented together using asphalt from the Dead Sea then known as Lake Asphaltum for the amount of asphalt that ended up on its shores:

Pergamon

Marble Roman market gate c100AD which were uncovered in the German excavations of Miletus in 1903-1905, 60% of which is original an originally re-constructed in 1929 but had to be substantially repaired in 1952-52 after bombings in WWII severely damaged it:

Pergamon

Pergamon

Basalt reliefs c 8th century BC: Ashur, the eagle headed winged deity – the head Assyrian god which dates from around 5000 yrs ago in the mid 3rd millenium BC:

Pergamon

Assyrian Palace c880 BC – Ashur:

Pergamon

The recurring motif of Assyrian sculpture – the Winged Genie c 870BC, which were closely associated with the god Enki. The idea of the Winged Genie formed the basis for similar creatures of archaic Greek mythology such as the Chimera, Griffin or Pegasus during the orientalisation phase of the Early Iron Age in 9th C BC in Crete, and made it into the Seraphim of the book of Isaiah in the Bible which had 6 wings, and in Revelation 4:7, the winged man becomes the symbol of Matthew the Evangelist.

Pergamon

Gebetsnische (Islamic Prayer niche) from Safar, Iran c623 AD if I translated the text correctly:

Pergamon

It was worth the rather long wait in the queue to get in!

 

Berlin’s Deutches Historisches – History of Germany Museum – some very cool works there

Written by admin on July 17th, 2017

I personally found the Deutches Historisches Museum quite fascinating and it is well designed in timeline order so that it is relatively easy to get a reasonable grasp of Germany’s history, albeit from a German point of view.

Here are just a few of the displays I found particularly interesting.

These were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera with Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 pro lens, mostly at around 1/8th sec handheld with full frame equivalent focal lengths around 200mm!

17th century plague mask for doctors to hopefully protect them from catching the dreaded disease by placing herbs or sponges soaked with vinegar in the beak – I am guessing it didn’t stop the infection but it might have made the smell of rotting corpses easier to bear:

Deutches Historisches

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and his family by Louis Carmontelle, 1770:

Deutches Historisches

Georg Friedrich Handel (1685-1759) by Balthasar Denner, 1733:

Deutches Historisches

Karl Gottlieb Luck’s porcelain work Zwietracht in der Ehe (Discord in Marriage) 1775 – beware the German woman scorned – domestic violence has a long history indeed!

Deutches Historisches

The Battle of Trafalgar 1805 by William Miller in 1839:

Deutches Historisches

The morning after the Battle of Waterloo
by John Heaviside Clark in 1816 who had created his sketches on site at the battle field which formed the basis for this haunting painting – but it seems we never learn from wars:

Deutches Historisches

Ludwig Knaus’ Der Unzufriedene (The Malcontents or The Social Democrat), 1877 – shows a brooding visitor in an inn. On the wall is a handbill from the 1877 parliamentary elections. The newspapers are social democratic ones.

Deutches Historisches

AEG’s electric light advertisement 1888:

Deutches Historisches

Josef Rolletschek’s Die Vertriebenen (The Displaced) 1889:

Deutches Historisches

Germania, an image by Friedrich August von Kaulbach in 1914 which embodies Germany’s readiness to fight:

Deutches Historisches

 

East Side Gallery – street art on the remnants of the Berlin Wall

Written by admin on July 16th, 2017

These were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera.

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

East Side Gallery

And a bit of a surreal post-processing for this one:

East Side Gallery

 

Some art works from Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie

Written by admin on July 16th, 2017

When in Berlin, purchase a 3 day Museum Pass (but don’t forget most museums are closed on Mondays), and allow yourself time for maximum of 3 museums each day – assuming you like art or history!

Berlin’s Alte Nationalgalerie is on the Museum Island and mainly holds 19th century art works, so let’s see a few of my favorites from the gallery.

These were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera with Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 pro lens

Antonia Canova’s Hebe 1796; In ancient Greek religion, Hebe is the goddess of youth and daughter of Zeus and Hera, and was the cupbearer for the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, serving their nectar and ambrosia, until she was married to Heracles.

Alte Nationalgalerie

Arthur Kampf’s Der Artist 1907:

Alte Nationalgalerie

Osman Hamdi Bey’s Persian Carpet Dealer on the Street 1888

Alte Nationalgalerie

Sabine Lepsius’ Self portrait 1885

Alte Nationalgalerie

Christian Daniel Rauch’s Kranzwerfende Viktoria (Throwing the Wreath of Victory to the Winner) 1838-45 which has served as a model for football league trophies, but which I have rendered as sepia here (it is really lovely white marble):

Alte Nationalgalerie

Franz von Lenbach’s Theodor Mommsen 1897

Alte Nationalgalerie

Edouard Manet’s Im Wimtergarten (In the conservatory) 1879

Alte Nationalgalerie

Max Liebermann’s Kleinkinderschule in Amsterdam (Kindergarten or toddler’s school in Amsterdam) 1880

Alte Nationalgalerie

Heinrich Anton Dahling’s Kranzwinderinnen (Woman braiding wreaths) 1828

Alte Nationalgalerie

Elisabeth Jerichau-Baumann’s Twin Portrait of the Brothers Grimm 1855

Alte Nationalgalerie

Moritz von Schwind’s The Painter Joseph Binder’s Adventure 1860

Alte Nationalgalerie

Georg Friedrich Eberhard Wachter’s Telemachs Ruckkehr (Telemachus’ Return) 1800-08; Telemachus is a figure in Greek mythology, the son of Odysseus and Penelope, and a central character in Homer’s Odyssey. The first four books of the Odyssey focus on Telemachus’s journeys in search of news about his father (Odysseus, who left for Troy when Telemachus was still an infant), who has yet to return home from the Trojan War.

Alte Nationalgalerie

Carl Friedrich Lessing’s Schutzen am Engpass (Riflemen Defending a Pass) 1851

Alte Nationalgalerie

Carl Friedrich Lessing’s Ritterburg (Knight’s castle) 1828

Alte Nationalgalerie

 

Potsdam and the Sanssouci Palace of Frederick the Great

Written by admin on July 15th, 2017

Whilst in Berlin, one should make sure they take the 45 minute or so train to nearby Potsdam and then a longish walk or taxi / bus to the Sanssouci Palace (Schloss Sanssouci) and its gardens.

Entry to the gardens themselves is via coin donation, but if you wish to book a time to see inside the palace, you need to go to the ticket centre where you may wish to purchase the option of being allowed to photograph the interior (but not publish the photos) – in retrospect, one probably does not need to photograph the interior unless you have a special interest.

Unfortunately, the Neues Palace was not open the day we went, and we were running short of time, only having an afternoon there.

It is a gorgeous way to spend a gentle summer’s day walking through the extensive gardens and then back to the Potsdam train station, stopping by the old church and then grabbing a lovely dinner at the cafe on the corner.

Unless specified otherwise, these were all shot with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 II Micro Four Thirds camera with Olympus mZD 40-150mm f/2.8 pro lens

Sansouci

This one was shot with the Olympus mZD 7-14mm f/2.8 pro lens

Sansouci

If only the statues and gargoyles could talk – what a history they have seen!

Sansouci

Sansouci

No, it’s not Napoleon but Frederick The Great:
Sansouci

Sansouci

A young lady posing on the steps of Orangerieschloss as a jogger passes by:

Sansouci

Sansouci

And if you like to people watch, the wonderful ambience and lovely angles of the sun make for some nice imagery if you are in the right frame of mind to look for them.

Sansouci

Sansouci

Sansouci

A beautiful image of a father taking his son for a walk:

Sansouci

When you walk back to the station there is an awesome old church (Friedenskirche) one can explore:

My friend Luigi posing for me.

Did I mention how lucky the northern Europeans are with their gentle angled summer sun in contrast to our high, harsh midday sun – when the sun is out in Berlin, beautiful sunlit images are easy!

Sansouci

A spy in the church with their iPhone:

Sansouci

My traveling band:

Sansouci

At the end of the day, dinner at the local Weiner Cafe on the corner of the Square with a view to the Potsdam Brandeburg Tor is a wonderful way to complete the afternoon. The main issue here is that the men’s urinals are obviously designed for tall Germans requiring tip toes for the height challenged!

Potsdam Brandenburg Tor:

Potsdam Brandenburg Tor

Weiner Cafe and Beer Garden:

Weiner Cafe