Cats of Istanbul


For me, there has to be a city trip at least once in a year!
This year it was time for Istanbul, but before I start to tell you what I liked the most about the city, how great the food tastes there, about all the great impressions and the amazing photo motifs I came across, I want to tell you something else.
Something, I enjoyed, from a photographers point of view, as much as visiting all the touristy sights.

I’m talking about CATS! 😉
I’ve never before, been in a city that inhabits more cats than Istanbul. Every single corner, every park and in all the streets, no matter how busy, you’ll find them – Istanbuls’ street cats.

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On a photo walk with an “old friend”


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After all the photo walks with Art Lenses and the DP2 Quattro, it was time again to take the DP3 Merrill for a walk. From Sunday on it’s supposed to get a lot colder, so today’s photo walk is likely to have been the last chance for a few macros this year. As soon as temperatures drop, you won’t find any six-legged or eight-legged creatures. Unfortunately, the oak spiders have said goodbye for this year. The sac spiders have already closed their openings to their habitat sacs. Along the riverbank you can find many small “lumps” of cobweb, but hardly any insects or spiders. Nevertheless I could discover a few subjects for macros, of which I consider the following “Tarzan Spider” most interesting. 🙂

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Animal Soul: Rob Bahou’s impressive portraits of dogs and cats


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Dogs and cats are two of the most photographed motifs, which is why many photographers hold the view that they are boring. But just as you think that you’ve seen every possible cat or dog photo, you stumble upon images taken by a photographer, who puts a completely new spin on the topic. My latest discovery is the 22-year-old Jordanian photographer Rob Bahou, who has proven with his photo series “Animal Soul” once again, that the potential of the said motifs is truly endless. I find that the title of the series fits perfectly, given how Bahou has managed to capture our four-legged friends in such a way, that they appear surprisingly expressive and human-like.

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© Rob Bahou

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Dogs and their stories


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When one is taking photos of dogs one never gets bored. These balls of furry delight are always full of beans, and never to tired to play or cause mayhem. This little Sheltie mongrel desperately kept trying to get into the toy-store for minutes. First through the yard gate, then through the entrance of the shop.
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New SPP 6.2 insights and many cat photos


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As I’ve discovered recently SPP 5.5.3 is much faster than newer versions at processing Merrill X3Fs, but I find myself missing SPP6’s “color square”. IMO the older version has one additional advantage: its color rendition in regard to Merrill Foveon output is much better. When applying small color corrections, however, there is no way around the mildly speaking awkward “color sphere”. What I mean by that is that after all this time I still find it hard to remove a color cast with the sphere. Fortunately, as I’ve found out while processing my last batch of photos, which you can see below, SPP 6.2 is also able to eke out beautiful colors out of Merrill X3Fs. The most important thing is to manually tweak the settings, instead of trusting auto white balance.

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My four-legged Neighbors


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For the most of you it’s nothing new that a large part of my motives und uploads are cats and dogs. But you don’t know, that almost all of those four-legged friends live in my neighborhood. It is really unusual not coming across with a new furry neighbor when I take a step outside. In Germany we are used to rigorous regulation and as a result pets must belong to someone. This is entirely different in Serbia. Here it is just as usual to own a dog – especially in the countryside – but in the cities you can find many stray dogs or “communal-dogs”. The first-mentioned form often packs in which single dogs differ in age, size and breed. It is not uncommon that Labrador-retrievers or rottweilers are accompanied by sausage dogs or pikeneses. “Communal-dogs” belong to nobody but they are fed and supplied by various families or the whole neighborhood. Among the cats the differences are significantly greater than in Germany. It is unusual that someone own a cat and it is rarer that someone keeps it in his own four walls. More common are abandoned cats or “communal-cats”. One ought to think that this concept can’t work but you underestimate the creativity and flexibility of the dogs and cats and the people’s generosity. Meanwhile I’ve purchased a food bowl too, which I stock up regularly. Especially then, when a new “neighbor” comes around to introduce himself. 🙂
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Additional DP2Q insights and many cat photos


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After my last blog post regarding the Quattro I’ve had time to investigate the noise reduction, sharpening and to Sigma users well-known BW blue channel workflow in SPP 6.0.5. As of yet I have no presentable test samples. By the end of this week I will do a noise performance comparison of the DP2Q and DP2M and use that opportunity to upload some photos, which will reinforce my following statements.

The BW workflow, in which one could use only the blue channel information in order to reduce noise, is definitely a thing of the past. By converting Merrill X3Fs in BW in such a manner, noise could be reduced by 1-2 stops. Applied to Quattro X3Fs, the workflow shows no effect whatsoever.

The chroma noise reduction in SPP 6.0.5 seems to be working completely differently than in 5.5.3. At least up to the middle value – I would advise against bumping NR any further, since it could lead to photos looking completely desaturated. Chroma NR no longer has the effect known from the clarity slider in Lightroom.

In my last blog post, I said that the sharpness slider in SPP 6.0.5, applied to Quattro X3Fs, appeared to be much more sensitive. Now I can confirm this. If you set sharpness to -2 Quattro X3Fs appear considerably less sharp than those of Merrills set to the same sharpness value in SPP 5.5.3. In order for Quattro X3Fs to appear as sharp as Merrill X3Fs with sharpness set to -2 in 5.5.3, one has to set sharpness in 6.0.5 to a value between -1 and -1.3.

Now we come to the images, the cat pics. Those of you who can’t stomach cat photos any longer, should not scroll down. I’ve warned you. 😉
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Overexposure Paranoia with the DP2 Quattro


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Before you can shoot technically good photos with a new camera, you first have to familiarize yourself with it. You should follow your own instinct instead of listening to other people’s opinions. I made the mistake of relying too much on reviews – especially on the allegations of the Quattro having more dynamic range in the shadows but less in the highlights than the Merrills. Without having detected a DR problem on my first photo tour, I already started implementing a solution (underexposure) into my photographic approach on my second tour. I believe this is called a „solution to a problem that doesn’t exist“. 😉 As expected, I suffered a surprise when I edited my photos in SPP. The photos were pointlessly underexposed. If I had exposed them longer, the highlights still wouldn’t have been burned out. Had I exposed the photos just the way I usually do with the DP Merrills, I wouldn’t have had to increase exposure in SPP by 1EV, and thus increasing noise in the process. Well, I had to learn the hard way. 😉
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One shouldn’t underestimate compact cameras


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Unexperienced photo lovers tend to tremendously underestimate any camera smaller than a (D)SLR. The photo gadget has to be huge, offer vast expandability and have at least a good dozen buttons and dials. Old hands know that it is the photographer who takes the picture and have a more pragmatic way of thinking about equipment. The old saying, that the best camera is the one that you have with you, is well justified. Nowadays smartphones fill this role, but for me that is not enough. I rather put up with a bit more weight and size than to compromise on image quality, manual controls, depth of field control and features. My best camera, which I always have with me, is the DP2M. Although I also have a DP3M, SD1M and many Sigma lenses, I almost always take the DP2M along. I take that camera with me even when I’m not in the mood or when I don’t plan on taking pictures. Experience shows that photo opportunities present themselves when one least expects it. 😉
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