Other articles

  1. First Quarter

    Things have happened. Moving to another city and stuff.

    I this new environment I found a Museum I really like. Go visit the Deutsches Museum!

    Text

    Quite close to my house there is a really nice lake, that makes you feel as if you were on holidays nearly every time you …

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  2. My Laugavegur Hike in Iceland

    End of July I finally managed to travel to Iceland to do some hiking. I chose the Laugavegur (the trail of the hot springs) as it is being advertised as the hike everyone should do at one point when hiking in Iceland.

    As some people keep nagging me for the promised images, uhm, here they are.

    Day 0

    The first full day in Iceland was spent traveling to the starting location, Landmanalaugar (the peoples pool). As there is a pool here, which has an inflow of hot spring water and one of cold melting water, this is actually a pool with a temperature perfect for chilling out in there. You can even adjust the temperature by just moving around in the pool, as each spot differs… Still, there are no pictures of the pool. Don’t ask me why (-:

    Here you can see the huts at Landmanalaugar. The one on the far right is one of the huts which contains bookable beds which you find along the trail. I opted for camping, as I was to late to book any huts (you need to book sometime in spring to have a chance to still get any space) and I actually like camping. The small green tent in the picture is mine, which weighs just around a kilo. The rest of the huts house toilets and shower rooms, washing basins and sleeping and working places for the warden (the poeple that work at the huts).

    Landmanalaugar huts

    The following picture is taken from the pool area. You can nicely see all the tents already scattered around here.

    Landmanalaugar huts and campsite

    There is also a mall… Uhm, two trucks bolted together and they sell hot soup, beverages and several small things.

    Mountain Mall

    One of the huts houses the Björgunarsveit (mountain rescue). I also did not manage to take a picture of the bus that took us to Landmanalaugar, but this one looks pretty similar to it.

    Björgunarsveit

    In this image you can see a small meltwater river that will span the entire valley in the spring.

    valley

    Day 1

    The first day started with steep upwards climb. The view backwards was tremendous.

    Landmanalaugar from atop

    This is a small meltwater pool. Although one should not put ones hand in any pool along this hike, as they can be quite hot, this one was actually very coold.

    Cold Pool

    Just a road sign. Hrafntinnusker was the first goal. In the background you can see the small wooden stakes that mark out most of the trail. In fact, the trail is marked extremely well. Considering that I had incredible good weather and that it can get quite foggy/rainy/stormy up here (currently ~500m elevation) good marking of trails can be the difference between life and death (more on this, later)…

    trail sign

    This is just another pool, I guess a cold one. The height has increased from the last picture (now around 540m), but this is not the end).

    Another cold pool

    This is another view back towards Landmanalaugar (once you see the river, you also find the black/brown/green hilly thing that you saw a picture of earlier).

    View back again…

    Just some mountains to the side.

    mountain view 1

    mountain view 2

    This is another “pool”. Its just missing the water at the moment. From the right you see a small stream of water going in. It can then be heated and overflow or even be vaporized…

    heating ground

    Another view back, can you find the starting point?

    Landmanalaugar again!

    We are now at ~800m elevation. I offered a couple to take a picture of them (so that both are on the picture), then they gave me a reach around and snaped this picture. I did not have a thermometer with me, but it was probably around 10°C. Maybe a short note on the backpack… It was much to heavy with around 23 kilos. If you want to do something like this hike, save every little tidbit of weight. But hey, you always learn, I now know some things that I will change in the future.

    I, me and myself

    Yeah, hot pools ahead!

    hot pools ahead

    Here you see a thermal exhaust that heats up the water flowing through.

    cooking the water

    even more boiling water

    This is nearly at the top of the hike (~1000m). It is quite rocky here and the stakes have been moved atop these cairns which are probably easier to see in bad conditions. Some guy hiking around here with his family without much load (they only did a day trip and went back to Landmanalaugar. He was telling the kids that every cairn actually was built because someone died here.

    Cairn of stakes

    And then you happen upon this cairn, which was actually built because someone died here. The sad thing is, that he would only have to gone over the next height to arrive at Hrafntinnusker.

    memorial cairn

    Yeah, it was just around the corner. In this picture you can actually see the solar cells and the mobile antenna. You can actually pay the huts and camping with credit cards all the way along the trail…

    Hrafntinnusker

    The night up top (~1100m) is said to be the coldest on the whole trail. This is supported by strong gusty winds that bring along lots of ash (we are standing here atop a volcanic region after all). So someone put up these wind protection walls (and in the background you can see the toilet and washing station (-:

    Hrafntinnusker campsite

    Day 2

    Starting out from this highest point of the trail it now went over very snowy terrain. Hiking over snow is actually much more strenuous than over sandy ground. Here you can see that even though the snow is actually quit thick, you never know how stable it is. Below the snow you see a little stream and a hole above it. Walking over snow always means that you could fall in at any time…

    Snow with holes

    Up here in this cold environment you will not really find any plants. The highest of feelings is lichen and maybe some moss.

    Tremendously green

    This trail is clearly visible. You don’t need any stakes here… Obviously.

    Unstaked path

    Just some more breathtaking mountains.

    View to the side 1

    View to the side 2

    What you see here is actually not dirty water. The water is very clear and clean. The red you see is iron oxide that builds up in the rock here, which obviously contains lots of iron. I quite like the contrast of the green lichen with the red oxidized rocks here.

    contrasts

    less contrast, but the same setting

    And just some more mountains. A little bit on the left you can already see the destination of this day: Alftavatn (Swan Lake).

    Mountain View

    Here you can see Alftavatn even better. You can also see that it is in one of many ridges. This spot is actually where the North American and Eurasian plate are drifting apart.

    Ridges

    What you cannot really see on this picutre is, that the drop here were around 400m vertically in around 500m horizontally.

    This is a huge drop actually.

    Down from the mountain there was now more green, even if it still was gras at the most and somehow much more marshy.

    Gras at last

    and a marsh

    And a bend in a river. Sadly the pictures of Alftavatn did not come out ok. I can just tell you that swimming in a lake with around 6°C is refreshing…

    Alftavatn river bend

    Day 3

    This river is a little deep for fjording, so someone put a bridge like thing over it. Take care, there is no railing.

    A bridge

    At least while looking back you see the Alftavatn hut and part of the lake.

    Alftavatn hut

    River fjording. Always a great fun. As long as you have your special fjording shoes. You don’t want to fjord in your hiking boots, so a pair of light sneakers or trekking sandals are perfect. I prefer something closed, so I have a pair of specialized water shoes. I still stubbed a toe pretty hard on one stone leaving a bad bruise. The worst thing you can do here besides going barefoot is using flip flops, because after the first fjording with those you will be fjording barefoot…

    Fjording

    more Fjording

    Did I say something about not marking the trail because it was clearly visible? That does not seem to have been a consideration here.

    Rocky path

    Luckily there was a bridge here. This one would have been tough to fjord…

    Tough river

    A small part of the trail went along this high way. I was somewhat to slow here. The truck was in the water up to its fenders. The truck-van in the back actually was to small for this fjording and sucked in water. So now they have to wait for the engine to dry up.

    car fjording

    And one shot along the highway.

    Highway

    As you can see here, it was quite warm (we are only around 300m here now).

    warm stop

    Did anyone say that Icelanders are not funny?

    LotR

    And from here on, there were actual plans beside gras… Uhm, guys, where is the gras?

    flower

    This little stone (around 40cm in height) is only one of many such bombs that lay around here. Having been shot out of a volcano and flown quite some distance to land here.

    Is this an ork head someone buried here?

    Nearly the last fjording here. If you want to fjord a river, always look around what a good place would be. Even though it makes your way longer in the river, always look for shallow places, the flow will be much weaker here and you will also much less likely trip. And as a bonus, if it is really shallow, you can even keep on wearing your hiking boots.

    another fjording

    This is the destination of this day: Emstrur Botnar (actually, don’t ask me what this means).

    Emstrur Botnar

    Camping space is very limited here, so early risers like me are well off, while people that sleep in might be out of luck and have to make do with the crowded lower campsite.

    Is this a Vaude ad?

    Day 4

    Starting out to the last day-trip there is another look backwards to Emstrur Botnar. You can even see the crowded lower campsite here.

    Emstrur Botnar again

    This is actually a volcano you see right now. Please don’t let it erupt now.

    Some volcano or other

    Even inside volcanoes, there can be rivers, right?

    volcano river

    more volcano river

    Here was another bridge again, I did really not want to fjord here…

    ravine

    This is just another small volcano caldera (an old volcano top).

    caldera

    My shadow! Shadow!

    Here you can see some hard stone, surrounded by weak stone. As you can clearly see, the hard stone prevails, while the weak stone crumbles.

    hard and weak

    This is the way we are supposed to go.

    Looking ahead

    A bush! The first bush-like thing in days.

    bush

    The Einhyrnigur (Unicorn mountain).

    Einhyrnigur

    And more of this soft/hard rock think.

    some stones, wow

    Someone started piling up rocks on this rock.

    More rocks.

    More bushes, yay.

    bushes

    This red here. It is just another kind of plant. A red plant.

    valley

    More bushes, and sheep!

    Sheeps

    This seems to be a pony riding group.

    Ponies!

    And the last fjording. The guy on the right actually had some flip flops to fjord, but lost them somewhere. It was fun watching him fjord. Another guy lend him some trekking sandals.

    Fjording, again

    Treeeeeeees! At last, this means that the destination is close.

    trees

    And this is actually it: þorsmórk (Thors forrest). Seems a little bit anti climatic now, does it not?

    þorsmórk

    This was the Laugavegur in just 70 pictures.

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  3. A little tour through the city.

    I was once again in the city. The sky was quite clear and the weather nice, so I spend some time again with my camera. This is a nice view onto the lake (the image is clickable for larger size). Sadly my stitching software does not seem to work with …

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  4. Canon Roadshow

    On Saturday I was at the Canon-Roadshow in Winterthur. You can just go there and test some bodies and lenses. Unfortunately everything was less impressive that last year, the light was not good and it was all very damp. In the room there was a large wave where you can surf and Canon paid them something so that you can test their kit there.

    Still I think there might be the one or other fixed focal length lense I will acquire in the future.

    Text Text

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  5. Just some Konstanz

    At last there is something happening here again. On thursday I spent some time in the city and also had some time to work on my photography again.

    Here are some sea gulls at the Konstanz harbour. Unfortunately on the first photo there is this ugly plastic thingy that I did not realize would be such a huge part of this shot.

    Image Image

    The doves are also slowly preparing for tourist season, the color is still somewhat whashed out, but you can already see it coming back again for spring and feeding time.

    Image

    Some concrete in front of a Sparkasse building.

    Image

    This cat was lurking around atop this car and watching something else in the bushes. Only a moment after this image it jumped down to hunt some victim.

    Image

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  6. A little catch up of the rest of last year

    Mo 04 Januar 2016 | tags: english

    I have been somewhat neglecting this blog the past fall. So here are some things to catch up until now and actually do some blog post again.

    First there was some additional Mainau visting going on in the Autumn. You can actually see the red creeping in from the east. And its a beatiful red besides.

    Red is creeping in

    Autumn is of course also prime time for mushrooms.

    Mushroom

    And there was still the Dahlia presentation. It is impossible to say I liked this one best, but it has such a vibrant color…

    Dahlia

    This is another tree that lets you see the red creep in (again from the east).

    Red is still creeping in

    On the other hand there are just some plants, that don’t want to wait on all the others.

    Red in Green


    Now for something else. My family came around to visit me and we made good use of the playground around my flat.

    Family

    Then I also visited my parents and enjoyed my hometown.

    Wutach

    Home


    Back in Constance the seagulls don’t want to lounge in the water any more…

    Seagull

    Then in December the Christmas Market started. Sadly you can not really see it that well, as it is not really chrismassy or winter like.

    Christmas Market

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  7. Stabilizing Video Shots

    Zoom lenses are great, you can zoom in mighty far. The problem is, when you don’t shoot with a tripod things can get quite shaky. For photos there are ways to compensate (when there is enough light). For videos, its quite another thing, as you will see all the shakes. Have a look at this short video I shot of a squirrel eating a nut:

    Now there is commercial software out there, that can stabilize this for you, and you have to pay dearly. So I went out to look for some open source solution to this problem. I don’t really do video and actually don’t have that much interest in this field, but I just wanted to write down, what I came up with, in case someone else is looking for a primer or I want to get back to this myself. This was all done some time back last year, but here you go.

    I quickly found transcode, a linux video stream processing tool.

    1. First one needs to create a so called “movement file” that contains the movement of the camera for the clip you want to stabilize.

      $ transcode -J stabilize -i squirrel.MOV

    2. Now you take the newly created file and stabilize the video with it.

      $ transcode -J transform -i squirrel.MOV -y xvid -o squirrel-stab.mov

    This is the end result of my endeavour. There is some strange stuff going on in the corners and borders (saying wide borders here). So there is probably better ways to do this.

    For comparision, this is what youtube produced with their “deshaking” algorithm. The wavering in the borders is not present here, but there are still some strange things happening with the light areas in the shot.

    Maybe at one point I will take the time to improve on the findings here and present something better.

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