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Two candles are better than one

or more than two. We’ll see. And finally picked up the sketchbook again. Feeling so rusty but ugly doodles are also fun in a way

oder mehr als eine. Mal sehen. Und ich habe mich endlich mal wieder dem Skizzenbuch gewidmet. Bin gefühlt total eingerostet aber lockere Skizzen machen auch irgendwie Spaß

Look! My art in a shop window!

[unpaid advertisement] When I had the pleasure to create this wonderful cover illustration for Gabi Rüther from In2Welten, I would never have dreamed that my artwork wouldn’t only appear on a printed book cover but end up in the window of a book store – and being presented in such a beautiful way!
If you’re living near Münster in Germany, go pay a visit to Buchhandlung Buchfink.

Buy Local!

[Unbezahlte Werbung] Als ich diese wunderbare Cover Illustration für Gabi Rüther von In2Welten erschaffen durfte, hätte ich mir nie träumen lassen, dass meine Arbeit nicht nur auf einem gedruckten Buchcover zu sehen sein würde, sondern auch im Fenster einer Buchhandlung – und dann noch so wunderschön präsentiert!
Wenn ihr in der Nähe von Münster lebt, stattet der Buchhandlung Buchfink doch einen Besuch ab.

Buy Local!

A Change of Plans

These perfect, magical late summer days are over, it seems. Time to adapt and enjoy the next seasonal phase. Inside with Tea, books & candles – and making art.

Also because I caught a cold… no Covid, I think but still annoying. Counting on my pretty strong immune system now instead of further challenging it. And boosting it with lots of ginger like every year

Es scheint, die traumhaften, magischen Spätsommertage sind vorbei.
Zeit umzudenken und die nächste Jahreszeit zu genießen. Drinnen im Warmen mit Tee, Büchern und Kerzen – und Kunst.

Und auch weil ich mir den ersten Schnupfen eingefangen habe und das nicht strapazieren muss… kein Corona aber trotzdem nervig und unangenehm. Ich verlasse mich jetzt auf mein super Immunsystem und helfe wie jedes Jahr mit jeder Menge Ingwer nach.

Enjoying my precious hour between five and six

The same few roads

and they simply don’t get boring. That color of whatever-is-growing-there is probably my favourite color of the year (should I make this a thing? Color of the year?) I can’t stop looking at it and feeling so calm and peaceful.
That old tree also doesn’t stop to amaze me.

und sie werden einfach nicht langweilig. Diese Farbe von was-auch-immer-da-wächst ist glaube ich meine diesjährige Lieblingsfarbe (Soll ich das einführen? Farbe des Jahres?) Ich kann nicht aufhören, dieses Feld anzuschauen und mich so entspannt und friedvoll zu fühlen.
Der alte Baum ist auch so etwas, wo ich mich immer freue, wenn ich vorbeilaufe.

Things, no money can buy

I’m starting to feel like this is turning into a public gratitude journal… but look at this precious surprise my mom left me in my apartment when she was there for an appointment while I had to work – homegrown vegetables from their garden.
While I don’t even have a balcony I’m so happy they are growing some again after 20 years or so. When they bought their house from the previous owners, we even had a few apple trees, figs and a big old cherry tree, but then turned the whole garden into an easy-to-maintain lawn/flowers/bushes garden – and my dad’s beloved bamboo.
It made sense with both of them working and us kids going to school and then apprenticeship / uni but seeing them develop such a diy obsession in retirement again is making me more than happy!

There’s nothing like the taste of homegrown vegetables

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Sunday Musings

It’s crazy… I slept until six thirty today which is very long for me. Makes me feel like the day is wasted already but I’m feeling great, so it really makes up for it – fewer hours with more energy.

Overall These small healthy steps backwards seem to create very big positive changes for me, the only electric thing plugged in next to my bed now is my bedside lamp. I’m using my phone (with the broken display) or the tablet in bed again but not like I’m on a drip anymore.

Talking about my tablet… I managed to set my tablet as telephone yesterday with an app connected to my Router. Was about to buy a new telephone after the old one had a few very annoying symptoms of old age. It seemed to lose the connection with the dock on a regular basis, always reconnecting with a beep. And then it just died when taking it off after showing full battery – but worked again after I charged the batteries externally. Probably time for it to retire.
But since I don’t even use it much anymore (mostly only my parents) I wanted the cheapest, simplest I could find, maybe for 10-15 bucks or so. Easier said than done – it was a fail outside of the internet – but then I got this idea because even the “normal” telephone is running over the router anyway. Why not use the tablet & headset via wireless connection for phone calls…

Like walking through a painting

The furthest I can get in fifteen minutes without missing my second train to work. As a kid & teen I used to hate this train station because it’s almost in the middle of nowhere and never got the idea I don’t have to stand around there to wait. Once, a very freezing cold winter in the early 2000s my Nokia 3310 (remember this indestructible phone?) got so cold, It took a few hours of warming up to start working again.

And who would have thought, that these short walks before work would become like a little ritual that keeps me so much more sane and happy this year.

I got a new pillow

It took me a while to realize what was keeping me from having a good night’s rest. Feeling stiff and like I never slept enough hours plus a clogged nose and crusty eyes in the morning, I thought it might be the dust under my bed or my old mattress which still feels good apart from being over ten years old.

Then I realized, maybe my (also super old) down pillow just got a bit old & nasty and no washing (in a pillowcase with a zipper and then let it air dry over a few days always turning and fluffing it up again) helps it anymore and the feathers flatten instantly.
After procrastinating that new purchase for another while because I expected a proper pillow to be a little splurge, I decided to just take a look at my local bedding store on my way home after work – and found a simple entry level memory foam neck pillow for ten Euros (according to the guy in the store it was a special offer).
The first night it felt amazing at first, then a bit umcomfortable because it’s so stiff & firm but compared to a completely flat 10+ year old down pillow the support it offered was heavenly.
(Note from present me since I started the draft of this post yesterday: I now slept the second night on that pillow and it was even better)

Being a side sleeper isn’t easy, but if you make it work, it’s amazing.

In addition to that I rearranged my bedroom with the help of my dear mom and looking forward to spend wonderful autumn & winter days with books, tea & art in that corner – and get some quality sleep, of course. Another longterm project will now be turning this metal shelf into a green wall – and look at that glorious 2,50 paper lampshade I found yesterday!

Would you like some updates on the progress of this room?

Slowly taking the waiting time

between my commuting trains to the next level. It’s so much nicer than sitting around on the platform for half an hour.
On workdays it makes me feel even better to know I’ve been outside for a bit already.

I’m really looking forward to watch that little area around the train station (which looks and feels so much like a painting) change with the seasons. Maybe we even get some snow this winter… maybe… just a few days.
It’s nice to live in very temperate climate (roughly between -5 to 35 Degrees Celsius) but I’d really love colder winters again, every other year at least.

As Children we used to go ice skating on the little lake next to my parent’s village and even down the hill onto the ice with a sled but it hasn’t gotten ice thick enough to be safe in many years now.

Greeted by the Morning Night Sky

New moon is close, the nights are getting colder and no clouds – what a magical view! Never gets boring. I really need to learn more constellations :-)

And I decided, no coffee today. Always listening to my body and today it said, herbal tea: my beloved cistus/ginger tea to be precise.
It’s been a weird night after waking up at 1am, falling asleep again and a weird dream of two guys walking past my window (my apartment is on the third floor) – which annoyed me so I raised my fist as a threatening gesture and the one guy grinned & raised his fist as well XD – but I’m glad I got a bit more sleep at least

Sunday morning in the fields

Oh how I love my rural-small-town life. I might have better job chances in a bigger city but when it comes to choosing between career and true happiness, I’ll always choose true happiness, the little things and a quiet, peaceful environment.

Good Morning, big horse and little horse!
Good Morning, little squirrel
between the villages

The best things in life are always free, but it takes some practice to appreciate them.

Switching off the Sunday Alarm

I’ve been pretty hard on myself the past few years. Always pushing forward and practicing self-discipline.

It makes me feel happy, balanced and like I’m not wasting the time I’ve got here on this wonderful miracle we call our planet – there’s just one downside: there’s no time to recharge. It leaves me tired and in a state of constant light burnout

So, last sunday I decided to start a small compromise and not get up at 5am (or earlier) once a week. Let’s call it a self-discipline cheat day :-)

I dropped my phone

Display on concrete. But it kept frustrating me only for a little moment – then I decided, this is the perfect opportunity to slow down even more & reactivate my good old tiny smartphone which can do phone calls, weather and has a small web browser, a radio and that’s it.
Then, in the evening I started a new attempt to repair the card slot on my beloved Sony RX100 after I hadn’t used it for the past two years or so – and managed to fix it (don’t ask, but it has an SD Adapter with a Micro SD in it now and the SD can stay in the slot)

However, it’s amazing. I feel like a big burden just… vanished. A healthy step backwards.

Late Summer in the Vineyards

Oh dear, it’s been a while (that’s how all blogposts start, nowadays, don’t they?)

I’ve always had these moments where I really missed it but Social Media makes things so easy. At the same time I’ve been retracting more & more, slowing down – returning to analog real-life things like drawing in my sketchbook, spending time in my journal – and analog photography.
Last week I finally had a week of vacation (staying at home) after this crazy year and decided to shoot a roll of film again after the last one in 2018, I think.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge #15: Changing and/or Changeable

What a great challenge and a perfect start to talk about another kind of change than the seasonal one. One I’ve been thinking about a lot lately – or better, the past few years with the rise of smartphones, Apps, Instagram and technology getting cheaper and more accessible for everyone):

How our perception is changing with the possibilities of technology and software, how altered images become the norm and we don’t even think about how much we may be “fooled”.

Hello Everyone, I’m Mona, a 30 year old Graphic Designer taking Passport Pictures, retouching Images and digitally restoring old photographs in a Portrait Studio all day long.
In my spare time I love the opposite for my personal relaxation and happiness:
Capturing beautiful light and moments in nature & cities.

Starting with the camera settings

this is the most basic part and already such a big influence on the mood of the image. From setting the temperature, the exposure/brightness or a wide or closed aperture for a magical sparkly blur or pin sharp lines in landscape and architecture to working with ND / Polarizing / Gradient Filters to preserve certain parts of the image and alter the other parts (mostly the darker parts we want to brighten)

the base
an underexposed shot of thirty seconds to preserve the lights and turn the water into a silky blanket

Now into the editing software / apps

this is basically the new dark room where there’s almost endless possibilities to change our shot into what we want it to be. In addition to the physical work during taking the shot we can basically edit almost all of the above.

adjusted exposure in camera raw / bridge / photoshop
instant change of the mood of the image. With its original green-ish temperature it’s still moody, very fitting two weeks before halloween, especially with the ghostly river

adjusted warmth of the image
although still surreal the warmer, red-ish tones change the gloomy feel into a more pleasant fairytale vibe

very dramatic highly saturated image
pushing the colors and contrast for a very dramatic look

Change is nothing new

it’s only the methods changing and the ways we work and make things happen. From Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky (Source:Wikipedia) who took some of the first color photographs around 1900 by using RGB filters, taking three photographs and “stacking” them into one additive color image, to Ansel Adams (Source:Wikipedia) during the 1920s to 1950s, doing everything in every step of the process to make his images as beautiful and dramatic as possible.

If you are interested, there’s a very beautiful documentary about Ansel Adams, one of the greatest landscape photographers of all time and how he had full control over his images from the taking of the photo to virtuosic work in the darkroom

Today

Technology is making it very easy and accessible to alter images the way we want them to look – without much knowledge – from photoshopped reality to body slimming apps and filters taking us back to the warm, nostalgic feel of film sometimes when digital looks too cold, flat and clean. Just soften the lights and shadows, add some grain et voilà…

preset to imitage the look of film
softened lights and shadows, a little sharpened and added contrast and some grain

As much as I love editing images and creating a certain mood or atmosphere

A sad downside of it I’m experiencing every single day at work is the changing self image of people (mostly female teenagers) who still don’t seem to be aware of how altered images have become the norm and trying to achieve that technically created reality – be it body image or flawless homes & lives which for both body and mind is very unhealthy till impossible in some aspects.
An aspect I’m really hoping is becoming more aware and people seeing altered images as art, pleasing to watch but not reality.


Each Saturday a new challenge is hosted one of these four bloggers.
Week 1–Patti of https://pilotfishblog.com/
Week 2–Ann-Christine aka Leya of https://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com/
Follow this Link for more Info

I messed up this time

Went out to capture the beauty of my hometown’s historic alleys – and forgot the tripod, was too lazy to go back home and get it, told myself ahh there are street lamps, I can do this without a tripod. Well, I messed up the focus and holding the camera more steady but I still love the shots and want to share them with you because that’s what practice is for, isn’t it? To mess up and learn from it.

Also, I realized once again, I don’t have any problem being alone in the forest but passing three drunk teenagers on a sunday morning in the streets makes me freaking nervous.

 

 

 

but look at that bokehlicious focus accident and the glory of orion ♥