Experimenting With Light

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on January 26, 2015 in Photography |

Up until now I have always used natural light in my photography; no flash, no forced lighting, no reflectors. Every single photograph has been taken – with a firm and steady hand mainly! – using whatever was available, whether it was in a museum, a church or outside in the cold. Natural light is good, I feel, but learning how to take photographs, especially film photography, means that I need to learn considerably more. I need to be able to judge the strength of available light, or additional light, as well as zones, shadows and variations across an entire spectrum which, eventually, will make up the finished image.

There is also the fact that I wish to be able to sell – or license – my work so that other people can use it for their own web blog, for Internet sites, for printed medium. Limiting myself to certain images, following one set subject, is hardly going to create a good portfolio of images which could attract those willing to open their purse.

Book, Pipe, Glasses

Photo Source: Viktoria Michaelis

So yesterday, on the spur of the moment, I grabbed a few things from around the house, from friends and neighbors, and took a few (digital) photographs using the simplest of light sources: a normal lightbulb – in this case a 3W, 300K, 46mA, 230V 50Hz Livarno Lux, for those who love details.

Absolutely nothing special, no plan, no design, just a few odd shots to see what could be. In this case, the photograph you see above, I had a very old, yellowed book on a dark wood background. The light is reasonably warm in color, and the age of the book gives it this deeper taint. The pipe is probably out-of-place, being far too dark and casting a bad shadow in comparison to the rest of the image, but it is a start.

The good thing about a digital camera, once again, the chance to experiment without having to wait for the results and then, when something works, take advantage of it straightaway with a different camera – film – or, perhaps, take the digital images and use them too. If it doesn’t work the first time – and I will be honest, this image here is the fifth attempt from many – correct, shoot again. Transferring what is learned to a film camera is another matter entirely, but we’re getting there, slowly but surely.

Love & Kisses, Viki.



Twitter: Setting The Target Low

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on January 25, 2015 in Internet |

I seem to be hovering around the one thousand three hundred mark on Twitter, when it comes to people who follow my account. Sometimes it is slightly more, sometimes it is slightly less. Sometimes people follow me – with a Twitter fanfare – sometimes they silently disappear. I must admit, though, I have never thought of setting myself a target for how many people follow me: I’m mainly interested in reading what others have to say. Then again, I am not a big business, where big numbers are important.

Twitter Plea

Screenshot Source: Twitter

However, if anyone wants to promote my distinct lack of Tweets – since mostly what appears there is a listing of what I write here – I am, at this precise moment of hitting the Publish button – 998708 short of a million. Could you help me get there, please?

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Photography: Paying The Rent

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on January 24, 2015 in Photography, Publishing |

I have spent the last few days sorting through images stored on my main computer and, something I should have done a long time ago but didn’t really trust myself to carry through, doing a lot of deleting. For a long time I considered every single photograph precious, every image a moment in time which should never be lost but remain eternal or, at the very least, exist until the images can no longer be viewed. Now, however, I realize that keeping duplicate images – taken in an attempt to get the light and framing just right – fulfill no real function. They show that I took ten, twenty, thirty shots of the same subject, show small adjustments and movements here and there, but they are essentially all the same, all one image working towards perfection.

This is, of course, part and parcel of modern photography. We can shoot thousands of photographs, one after another, and then sort through them later, picking out the one or two which appeal, which make the grade. The camera does all the work, effectively, all we need do is find a suitable image, blast away and then pick out the one which looks good. We don’t need to take our time, consider each frame individually before pressing the button, before opening the shutter and letting light fall, briefly, on a roll of film.

Images For Rent

Photo Source: Hammerin ManCreative Commons

Whilst sorting through, cutting out and discarding, I discovered that there are quite a few images which, despite my inexperience, are reasonably good. They have a little something which seems to catch the eye, which makes them worthwhile. Of course, I knew that a few were good before, it’s not as if I haven’t published one or two here or on Google Plus over recent months, but there is more to it than that. It is a consideration I have been playing with for a while and one where I have done a little research too: are my photographs of interest to other people? Is it likely that someone else might want to buy copies for themselves?

This is the direction my thoughts are going at the moment: combining my photography with my writing on the Shop and offering, alongside the books, some photographs too. The only problem at the moment? The services I have contacted to create prints, and the ones that I have already tried out, fall short of what I am looking for. It seems almost as if no one produces a good-sized print from a digital file on high quality paper these days. At least, none that I have come across yet – although I will admit to having made a limited foray into this field, and there may well be someone out there with real capabilities. Either that, or I shall have to invest in a better photographic printer than the one I have at the moment – limited by size more than anything else – and undertake the work myself.

In the meantime, however, I am experimenting with a different form of selling: offering selected images for limited license use. This is also an interesting field, and one which I could expand upon with my own work by changing the limited number of subjects I photograph. Sometimes it is the simple as much as the exotic which attracts a buyer. Experimenting, as always, in the hope that something will come of it, but fully realizing that not every plan is destined to work.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Freedom Of Expression And Speech Over Religion

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on January 20, 2015 in News & Opinion |

Do people really appreciate, let alone understand, what it is that they are marching in favor of? Do those same people understand the massive difference between what is being claimed as a Right, as a Freedom, and the Rights and Freedoms of those people on the other side of the street?

The killing of so many people in France – the killing of so many thousands of people around the world – in the name of religion, regardless of which religion it may be, is clearly wrong. It was wrong in ancient times, it is wrong today. There can be no sane justification for taking a life in such a manner, no matter what has happened, what they have done. There can also be no justifiable religious reason for taking lives in such a manner – whether it be in France, in Syria or elsewhere – especially when all religions claim to be peace-loving.

Clearly what is happening in the Middle East at the moment, the advance of the Islamic State, has nothing to do with peaceful co-existence and, for the bulk of Muslims, nothing to do with religion either. The leaders of this movement should not, therefore, be placed on the same level as the ordinary Muslim who follows his or her religion according to a peaceful and socially acceptable interpretation.

Likewise the killing of a group of people in Paris, mainly connected to the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, should not be placed upon the shoulders of the vast majority of Muslims. It should, however, be looked upon in a different light. The periodical and its employees attacked the entire Muslim religion with their satirical articles and cartoons. They did not limit themselves to what is wrong, what is being taken out of context, what is being mis-used and abused in the name of religion. Their satirical works – or what we in the West might see as being satirical – attacked millions of people who have nothing to do with the violence or abuses of those taking their chosen – or inherited – religious beliefs as an invitation to kill and maim.

The various Freedoms and Rights we have won and earned over many years can just as easily be abused as they can be lost. To claim the Right to abuse an entire religion simply because of a few, to claim Freedom of the Press, of Expression, of Opinion to heap abuse and vilification on others is an abuse of that Right and Freedom just as much as to claim that religion allows the killing of others to further its ends.

There can be no justification for the murders in Paris, if those who take it upon themselves to commit such acts claim to be doing it in the name of their religion. At the same time, there can be no justification for the abuse of an entire religion, people, country, ethnic race, sexual orientation in the name of Freedom. The Right to practice any Freedom should be coupled with the intelligence, the commonsense to realize that this Freedom is limited, and that those being vilified, attacked, abused who have nothing to do with a violent interpretation of a religious passage, belief or similar are having their Rights and Freedoms abused too. To claim Freedom and Right whilst denying Freedom and Right through abuse of those same Freedoms and Rights should be no ones Right.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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Yes We Can (Call It That)

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on January 15, 2015 in Immoral Conversations |

I don’t know whether I mentioned it or not, but there is an interesting house in the nearby village of Bruchhausen-Vilsen which caught my attention a while back. Interesting because of its history, more than anything else, and as an addition the plans which have been put forward for it.

The house is the old railway station on the eastern side of Bruchhausen – Bruchhausen-Vilsen being two villages which amalgamated many decades ago and which still have not come to terms with their fusion – dating back to the golden age of steam railways and an active commuter line between Hoya and Bruchhausen-Vilsen or, to cover its complete length, Eystrup and Syke. The railway line is still there, still in use, but not as a main commuter line any more, more for tourists, which is one of the reasons why the old railway station was closed down and brought to other uses.

Ostbahnhof, Bruchhausen-Vilsen, Germany

Photo Source: Tamara

The ‘other uses’ in this case was as a brothel, which managed to survive for many years using a variety of services from young woman from a variety of countries with a variety of languages which did not include much German, and a wide variety of probably illegal entry means into the country in the first place. Eventually the brothel closed, the owners found that there wasn’t enough interest to keep it going, that the revenue sources were drying up – or that the women couldn’t be caught and brought in all that easily – and there was no future. Also, it would appear, no future for the house, which was set on fire in order to claim the insurance.

A complete wreck – which the insurance didn’t pay out for – the house then stood for a while, open to wind and weather, while the various officials in their offices played hide and seek with paperwork, money and such like. The owners became either no more or filed for bankruptcy, and the house was foreclosed.

The village of Bruchhausen-Vilsen, seeing that they had a good opportunity here, decided not to let the foreclosure bring new owners – the going price was a neat ten thousand Euro – and purchased it themselves, with the promise of making something out of it, although no one could say what.

For a while it looked as if someone was doing something, but then they gave up and a barely begun renovation was left open to wind and weather. Until this last week. The newspapers carried the joyful news that a cooperative has been set up and has given itself a name and a plan: the house will be renovated and used as a bed and breakfast – or something similar – for tourists.

And the name? They’ve based the name of the project on the name of the street – Maidamm – and the name of the house – Ostbahnhof – taking a few letters from each word to form a whole and to prove that Yes, they can do it and nothing is going to hold them back with the right backing from the people.

The project is called ObaMa.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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FBI: Seems Legit

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on January 14, 2015 in Immoral Conversations, Internet |

I usually see meme or photograph headers similar to the title of this piece, but thought it appropriate for this quick post which, as you see, comprises a mail I received yesterday:

FBI Headquarters in Washington, D.C.
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Edgar Hoover Building
935 Pennsylvania Avenue,
NW Washington, D.C. 20535-0001

This is to officially inform you that it has come to our notice and we have thoroughly completed an investigation with the help of our Intelligence Monitoring Network System that you legally won the sum of $800,000.00 USD. from a Lottery Company outside the United States of America. During our investigation we discovered that your e-mail won the money from an Online Balloting System and we have authorized this winning to be paid to you via a Certified Cashier's Check.

Normally, it will take up to 10 business days for an International Check to be cashed by your local banks. We have successfully notified this company on your behalf that funds are to be drawn from a registered bank within the United States of America so as to enable you cash the check instantly without any delay, henceforth the stated amount of $800,000.00 USD. has been deposited with Bank Of America.

We have completed this investigation and you are hereby approved to receive the winning prize as we have verified the entire transaction to be Safe and 100% risk free, due to the fact that the funds have been deposited at Bank Of America you will be required to settle the following bills directly to the Lottery Agent in-charge of this transaction whom is located in Lagos, Nigeria, According to our discoveries, you were required to pay for the following -

Deposit Fee's (Fee's paid by the company for the deposit into an American Bank which is - Bank of America)
Cashier's Check Conversion Fee (Fee for converting the Wire Transfer payment into a Certified Cashier's Check)

The total amount for everything is $120.00 (One Hundred and twenty USD.) We have tried our possible best to indicate that this $120.00 should be deducted from your winning prize but we found out that the funds have already been deposited at Bank Of America and cannot be accessed by anyone except the legal owner (you), the winner; therefore you will be required to pay the required fee's to the Agent in-charge of this transaction via Western Union Money Transfer Or Money Gram.

In order to proceed with this transaction, you will be required to contact the agent in-charge (JOHN FREEMAN) via e-mail. Kindly look below to find appropriate contact information:

E-MAIL ADDRESS: agent.fbi@terra.com

You will be required to e-mail him with the following information:


You will also be required to request Western Union details on how to send the required $120.00 in order to immediately ship your prize of $800,000.00 USD Certified Cashier's Check drawn from Bank of America, and also include the following Fund Reference Identification : FA3948-914.

This letter will serve as proof that the Federal Bureau Of Investigation is authorizing you to pay the required $120.00 ONLY to AGENT JOHN FREEMAN via information in which he shall send to you, if you do not receive your winning prize of $800,000.00 we shall be held responsible for the loss and this shall invite a penalty of $3,000 which will be made PAYABLE ONLY to you (The Winner).

Please find below an authorized signature which has been signed by the FBI Director - James B. Comey

James B. Comey
Director - FBI.

NOTE: In order to ensure rapid response for the Fund won, contact AGENT JOHN FREEMAN as soon as possible providing the required information needed from you above

As I say, seems legit…

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Wearing Your Daughter’s Clothes

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on January 12, 2015 in Immoral Conversations, Internet |

At a guess I would say this must be a slip of the typing fingers because there is clearly enough room to elaborate on what is caught between those brackets.

Sharing Clothes With Dad

Screenshot Source: Twitter

I can understand Moms wearing their daughter’s clothing, for all the reasons the article mentions, but a Dad wearing his daughter’s clothing? And then so many of them? Thirteen percent of the population is a lot.

Luckily, if you read the article, you see that Dad isn’t mentioned at all, no matter what he happens to be wearing, so I can’t say where the quoted 13% is quoted from. Still, the very idea … some of the Dads that I know wearing skinny jeans and a tank top? I think not.

Love & Kisses, Viki.

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Thoughts Before The New Year

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on January 11, 2015 in Photography |

I found this back in December and was wanting to publish it before the start of the new year. Guess it got lost somewhere along the way so, although it is no longer new year, let alone before the new year, I thought I’d do it today. Not just because it is a wonderful ideal, not just because it made me think and gives me courage to try things I haven’t risked yet, and not just because of recent events although, as I can be sure you understand, it has something to say there too. More, I think, because it is a beautiful concept and one worth living up to, living for.

We live in worlds wrapped up in little boxes we put ourselves in, we love to label everything so we don’t fear it. We allow our time to be dictated by the passing of the hands of a clock that we make.

It’s only through the release of passion do we lose this, we step from the boxes, ignore the labels and forget all concept of time. I found mine when I framed my world for the first time through a viewfinder. When I saw the composition of the world I live in, the glints in eyes, wrinkles upon skin, the warm glow of a winters sunset as it crests the lands horizon. The texture of bark and rustle of leaves as they sing to me in the gentlest of breezes and the dance of grasses around my feet.

We are the creatives, we are the few among the many, we brings worlds of fantasy that mundane life takes away, by freeing ourselves of the constraints that other wish to restrict us with do we show them what they miss.

Whether it be through a viewfinder, a pencil on paper, paint on canvas, mouse click on a screen, fingers on strings, words spoken or sung, remember you are the few among the many, show them, teach them, set them free.

Mike Shaw, Photographer


Love & Kisses, Viki.

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For A Moment There: Couch Potato Hopes And Dreams

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on January 10, 2015 in Internet |

Finally, an application for your smartphone which really makes sense! For all those who are tired of having to move closer to the television, stand up and get a beer from the kitchen, reach a remote control that has slipped over the edge of your favorite sitting unit and is lying on the floor just out of easy reach: the couch mover.

TechCrunch: Clear Description Wanted!

Screenshot Source: Twitter

There is no longer any need to stand, to move, to stretch any other part of your body but your thumb. With a simple flick of a virtual button, you couch is moved to wherever you need it to be, and you don’t need to even break a sweat.

Read more…

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Je Suis Charlie: The Final Censor

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on January 8, 2015 in News & Opinion |

It is one thing to remove a few cleavages because a censor does not feel them to be appropriate for a modern-day audience, it is quite another thing to use a weapon to perform an act of censorship. As I wrote about the Chinese censorship the other day, about the banning of a film by Egypt, of the outrage in North Korean government circles over yet another film, I hardly imagined that anyone would go so far as to completely wipe out another living being as the ultimate form of censorship.

In Germany we are confronted with a growing group of people, predominantly in the former eastern States and Dresden, who claim our present day society is threatened by Islam, that German society is being taken over by immigrants, by Muslims, and that our normal, safe way of life is being weakened. The fact that these German States have a very small number of Muslims – in Dresden it is less than one percent of the population – does not deter the propaganda, the growing antipathy towards foreigners of all kinds.

The act of violence, in which twelve people paid the price of religion with their lives, carried out yesterday in Paris will not advance the standing of Islam as a peaceful religion, as a religion where the people following its teachings wish to fit in with the society in which they live, wish to be a part of the community. It has already been used as propaganda by the German extremists hiding behind the anti-Muslim demonstrations in Dresden, as a form of ‘told you so’. In France innocent Muslims have been attacked, as well as their Mosques, shops and homes. The kickback throughout the media across Europe has been massive, and the killers have achieved the opposite of what they may have set out to achieve, bringing the wrath of many upon the heads of those who bear no blame.

And twelve people are dead. There is no religion, no belief, no ideal in a sane, modern society which can accept such an act of terrorism, and most certainly no justification for such an act of irrevocable censorship.

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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