Archive | March, 2007

Chinese tea.

Chinese Tea 12

I was talking with a friend about chinese tea when I remembered that I had one bud of a chinese flower left. Now this is no ordinary tea, this is something I have never seen outside of China. You put the bud into a big glass, then you add hot water. The next minutes you will stare at the glass as the bud is blooming all of a sudden! It’s not only a incredibly tasty tea, it’s also visually very attractive. After the flower has bloomed, though, you don’t drink yet – first you throw the ‘old’ water out and add new hot water, as the first amount of hot water also ‘cleaned’ the flower from dirt. Nice ritual, absolutely try it out when you’re in China. Click here to see the full set of images on flickr.


D50 RAW to HDR tutorial.


Nikon D50 RAW to HDR tutorial

Here it is, the promised Nikon D50 HDR tutorial or ‘How To Make A HDR Image Out Of A Single RAW file’. Do you want to make a image like the one above? Then read my tutorial and try for yourself. Now I didn’t teach everything myself, I learned a lot from ‘stuck in customs’, but there are some things I do different. Let’s get started.

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(Fake) wedding pictures.

Taking pictures

Following the chinese tradition, we had a couple of wedding images taken yesterday. Funny, in China you have to shoot these pictures before and not during the wedding ceremony. They will give us three books, some framed images, invitations and whatnot for the money we pay them. Anyway, it was a long day, a long shoot, and after changing six times our energy was literally gone. And we don’t even know if it was worth it, as the ‘real’ professional pictures will only be finished in three weeks… Damn. However, I took my D50 and shot myself as many pictures as possible. I will post the ‘real’ ones later on, for now, enjoy my unprofessional ones. You can view them all in this flickr set.

Jiajia in a wedding dress in the park

Don Jakob

Jiajia in a sexy red dress


Some new HDR images.

Pudong leaks over...

Image is a collage of different HDR settings, quite crazy layered. Anyway, as you can see, Pudong ‘leaks’ over to Puxi. Don’t you feel, that more and more parts in ‘old’ Shanghai start to look like Pudong, too? There’s a new area here in Zhabei, Zhabei! And it looks exactly like Pudong. Hope they can save some of that good old Shanghai feeling.

Field Of Yellow

Taken in the sichuan province. Edited heavily with Photoshop and other software.

Hangzhou RGB HDR Pagoda

This is a combination of three (!) separate generated HDR images from a single RAW file taken with my Nikon D50. I spend a good hour getting it together right, hope you like the result. The picture was taken in the beautiful city Hangzhou, about two hours away from Shanghai (only 26 minutes when that new Maglev line is finished, though…). Best viewed large!

When I have the time, I’ll write an tutorial on how to create HDR images from a single Nikon D50 RAW file with various programs.


WP-Theme: Jiajia.

My new blog design

I like pictures. I like to take them with my Nikon D50, I like to share them on flickr, I like to show them off on my blog. Sadly, there seem to be very few elegant WordPress themes that support a ‘normal’ blog as well as an image blog. Why? Because most themes try to get the content into a 400 pixel or less wide space. Sure, makes sense, as it is much better readable than a 600 pixel wide content area. But how about making it 500 pixels wide, exactly enough for the so-called ‘Medium’ resolution that flickr has to offer? And in return, making the content font a few pixel bigger? When it comes to blogging flickr images, you can go with 240 pixel wide or 500 pixel wide images, and 240 pixel were just too small for my taste. A workaround is to download the images you want to blog, resize them in Photoshop and host them yourself. But what do I pay flickr for? So I sat down, designed this theme, and since I release almost everything under Creative Commons, why not this WordPress theme, too? There is another interesting thing about this theme that I didn’t mention yet: The content comes first in the source code, then come the Google ads, then the menu and sidebar. Look at the code if you don’t believe me! This way, the advertising bots from Google read my content first, then the menu and the sidebar. This way, the ads should be even more focused and related to my entries. Tricky, huh? Well, the technique I used was called on some other blog ‘a weird method, that only print designers use’. I don’t care, works fine for me! The magic is: ‘position:absolute;’ in the CSS file. With this attribute, you can position whatever you want wherever you want.

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Thank you, Mr. Zhang!

Jiajia 2006

A(n) Story / Fable / Truth / Level / Poem / Love-letter / Exposé / Thought / Encouragement / Explanation / Hope / Future? / Revealing / Life / Release / Screenplay? / Reminder / Decision / Biography? / 34341 characters long text / Analysis by Jakob Montrasio

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Cards, Cards, Cards.

Chinese love cards, or at least I think so. I had, before moving to China, these cards in my wallet: two german bank account cards and a german insurance card from DKV. Now, after living more than a year in China, these cards somehow made their way into my wallet: a Bank Of China card, a Eastern Miles card, a ctrip VIP card, a Priority Club Rewards card, a Taco Bell VIP card (funny, I have in my whole life not once been in a Taco Bell, this was a gift), a Chatea card (they gift you some cool tea set after spending a thousand kuai there or something), a proof-of-ownership card for my electronic scooter, and since today, a Clean card from my local cleaning shop. Yes, this is crazy. Before: 3 cards. Now: 8. They are not heavy at all so I don’t mind carrying them around, but it’s funny how everything seems to be solved over cards here. Oh, and why did I make that cleaning card today? Because I clean my suit every once in a while, and if you pay down 200 kuai on your card, all costs are 50% off! 50%! Sweet Jesus. I don’t mind carrying 50 more cards around if other places would give me 50% off, too… Like my favorite DVD-9 store!


Chengdu to Chongqing.


I went with a colleague to Chengdu in the Sichuan province of China for some business, and after we did our stuff thee, we took a train to go to Chongqing for some more business. During the four hour long train-ride I realized that Sichuan is the Tuscany of China with it’s gorgeous yellow flower fields and the beautiful dark red earth everywhere. What a sight! I took so many pictures out of the window that I didn’t know how to name them all, so I ended up giving them time-stamps as the name in this photo-set on flickr. Check them out if you’re interested! You can also view them as a slideshow.


You son of a bitch.

I don’t know who you are, you piece of shit, but I hope the battery of my iPod you stole today explodes in your face! What a great move to steal the iPod out of my wife’s pocket while she was entering the subway, you can be damn proud of yourself! I hope you get your hands chopped off in a accident, you sneaky bastard! Because worthless thieves like you probably have no or little education, you won’t even understand what I write here in english, so here’s my message in chinese for you: 操你祖宗十八代!