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Mercedes-Benz W123 500CE AMG Coupé

Seen outside Café Fairouz on the corner of Reuter Str. and Sonnenallee. Tight as slammed frontend looking gangster on period-incorrect 500SL AMG Rims, 1984-ish silver Mercedes-Benz W123 500CE AMG Coupé. It’s been six months since I last saw any true German hoonage and I did a double U-turn stopping in the middle of the road just to admire this. Also pause to admire the habibis with their fades enjoying a Thursday evening shisha. Pure Neukölln this. “See man driving a German Whip.”

Tempelhofer Feld, May 11 2022

I haven’t been at Tempelhofer Feld so much the last couple of weeks, and when I have, it’s been doing ultra-lazy laps on my bike, totally not lycra’d up — except for bib shorts under my trackies, ’cos butt comfort. Today was 28° and felt like mid-30s, warm and dry wind, heavy sun, cloudy hazy sky. The Feld was full and the fields have grown from stubble to knee-high in a couple of weeks, doing that luscious, hallucinogenic, erotic green of spring all flushed and horny.

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Spring About To Get Freaky

No fancy camera yesterday, but a fancy dress, ’cos I’m all about assaulting the bland colour palette of Berlin and Germland with shimmering bright colour. Doing my semi-daily walk, saying hi to the Crows and Ravens, Skylarks and Corn Buntings, and one large Eurasian Kestrel. I think the birds I thought were Kestrels are actually Corn Buntings. I dunno. Birds getting rowdy.

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Tempelhofer Feld, March 24 2022

Me photographing lycra’d-up cyclists ended up being me photographing trees. I went for my usual bike plus walk, trying to persuade myself to not feel sick or whatever the fuck the last seven months has been about, got myself over to the southern perimeter road, sat under one of the young trees and watched the cyclists do their anti-clockwise laps. And tried to photograph them. Rapidly closing and departing moving targets.

What did I learn? Locking the ISO to at least 400 helps with shooting at an angle towards the sun and helps prevent everything blowing out. Locking the exposure to at least 1/1000 also, because bike wheels are moving quick and I want a nice, sharp, contrasty image. And I can do that on my FujiFilm X-T4 because the sensor is kinda massive and the lens is bigger than my old camera. Heaps of light, fuckall noise. It’s like follow-spot in theatre, I have to move ahead of the action, not follow. If I shoot burst-mode, I can effectively film each cyclist passing, then go back and find the ‘perfect’ shot. I don’t shoot burst because … I dunno, I hate the aesthetic and the mentality. It’s not photography, just like I don’t like cropping. I like that I mostly don’t ‘get the shot’, and like photographing dance, I have to know the work, anticipate what’s coming up, know how a rider and bike is going to look at a certain distance, a certain angle, with the sun hitting them, all that. None of which I really nailed satisfactorily. Like my previous walk, where I got familiar with the manual focus, a pile of nothing special.

This tree I liked the look of though. Last days of bare limbs before spring jizzes everywhere.

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Tempelhofer Feld, March 16 2022

Another afternoon wandering Tempelhofer Feld with my camera. After yesterday’s messing around, I did some reading the fucking manual to remind myself how to use an expensive camera and lens. And I learned the 16-80mm F4 lens can also do passable macro at the zoomed end. Which obviously I like, especially if I ever go back to a museum and shoot art.

First stop, the skate park, for some boyz and lads doing ollies and kickflips. And took probably the photo of the day: someone doing a 360. Bit of a walk, bit of a sitdown to work out what buttons I’d pushed and why camera was being weird (accidentally nudged the dial to HDR), shot some cyclists in full aero TT mode. More walking and almost stomped on spring flowers being highly ostentatious, which is where I tested out exactly how macro can I go? Actually very, and the detail is mad.

More walking and got told to smile by some gormless wanker. Joke’s on you, dickhead, I already was.

More walking and these Skylarks were getting well rowdy. And fully not afraid of people, so I just stood there while one came right up scratching for a feed. Photo wasn’t so good though, but once again, yay zoom. And then took a photo of the almost full moon, which I looked at when I got home, and insane detail zooming in in the raw image, the mare are clearly visible, as are the bright craters and rays of Tycho, Copernicus, Kepler, and even Aristarchus. That’s hand-held auto-focus, in daylight with a heap of haze and high cloud, and the moon about 25° above the horizon.

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Tempelhofer Feld, March 15 2022

Getting my arse back to Tempelhofer Feld for an arvo stroll. Haven’t been there since mid-December apparently. This time with my still-new FujiFilm X-T4 camera, despite the absence of sun and blue sky. Training my fingers and brain for where everything is amidst all the dials and buttons, and learning what kind of photos it takes.

Besides changing the auto-focus, I’m still shooting very default at the moment. Having a proper zoom lens is by far the one thing I’ve been missing, as well as the combo of substantial slabs of glass and sensor allowing me to shoot zoomed in with low light and still get sharp images at an acceptable exposure time. Actually playing around with ISO, aperture, exposure, and all, as in actually using an expensive camera properly, is somewhere in the future.

As for the photos, all but the last are the jpg versions of the raw photos the camera creates. I find them a little over-exposed (not so much the dim ones here) and flat compared to the raw originals, but I can’t be arsed spending time making them pretty. Except the last one, which I needed to rotate a little and the jpg really looked average. I also need to learn Affinity Photo, which I started using when I ditched Photoshop. The photo is far from great, but it is movement and one of the reasons I bought this camera was to shoot movement – dance, cycling, sport, motorsport, people moving.

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MacBook Pro!

😱😭😍

Currently writing this on old MacBook Pro which has done 8 hard years under my fingers, and had the entire top case, keyboard, and battery replaced. And is running a tiny bash script which keeps the CPUs ticking over at a minimum of 5% so they don’t decide they’re asleep and randomly shut down.

New MacBook Pro is currently updating itself.

New MacBook Pro is a 16” M1 Pro with 32GB RAM and 1TB SSD. Which is kinda insane.

I took a few weeks last year to make a decision. More RAM? M1 Max? Bigger SSD? What combo of what? And most importantly, what colour? Which was Taner’s call. “You sure you want Space Grey?” Turns out I wasn’t. Silver it is.

I picked it up from Katrin and Taner a week ago, left it unboxed until yesterday when I had some calm, and now doing the massive migration.

Things I really like: Return of MagSafe! Which is Apple’s best invention. Braided power adaptor cable with plugs at both ends! I love braided cables (not sure how dirty it will get though), and hopefully it solves one of Apple’s biggest downers — the frayed cable at the MagSafe or adaptor ends — with a replaceable cable instead of trashing the whole thing. Return of the original TiBook blocky style. Tasty.

Obvious things I really like: Fuck me that’s a big, bright screen. Very different keyboard not requiring me to retrain my finger habits. Massive trackpad (requiring … finger habits). Touch ID. Which I don’t use for critical things like logging in but there’s plenty of other situations where it’s useful as fuck.

Things I have no idea about yet: How fast is it, actually? I went for 32GB of RAM over M1 Max because my current laptop was almost top of the line back in late-2013, and 16GB of RAM has held up well (even with terribly coded ‘modern’ websites and browsers). The 500GB SSD always felt kinda tight when my previous, 2008 MacBook Pro had a 1TB spinny drive. Battery life is supposed to be ‘up to 21 hours’, but realistically getting a day’s work out of it without a recharge, or an evening’s series binge, would be awesome.

And the big thing: How many years is it good for? 8 years on my current one and the main reason I bought a new one was I needed to get rid of some money. High on the list of other reasons were: it’s feeling old and a little creaky and slow, and it might decide to actually die at any time — or keep running for years. Dasniya has my 2008 laptop which still does occasional work and it’s still running slow but ok. Also high on the list was ditching of the Touch Bar, return of MagSafe, and arrival of M1. But I’ve spent on average 4–500€ a year across 4 laptops since 2002, and while they last a lot longer now, they’re also a lot more expensive. So, is 8 years realistic? Especially on the whole M1 hardware.

Somehow I’d like to not have to buy a new laptop again. I have no idea what my life might look like where I’m doing the work I enjoy and have no need for a laptop though. Being a poor who has very carefully balanced a shite household budget for decades means while I might be able to afford to pay for this, I never know if I’ll be able to afford having it. And yes, for anyone who thinks buying this does not equal poor: it’s a very large work expense, it’s one of a number of large expenses I had to choose between — including those trans expenses which I don’t know if I’ll ever fully cross off — and for most of the last decade I’ve been wearing the same clothes and cheap underwear. It’s beautiful and a little intimidating, and I’d love to enjoy it fully without worrying about how near-future me might be in a situation where I can’t afford the basics again.

Yah, so, obligatory unboxing photos, which are not especially aesthetic but I took as I was seeing it for the first time.

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German Whip: Oettinger Volkswagen Golf Mk4 GTI

Seen on Böttgerstraße up Gesundbrunnen Wedding way. Might be an R32, might be a 1.8T, might be a 2001. Definitely maximum Deutsch hoonage. It was dusk, so the flat light blue isn’t as improbably bright as it was when I stood on the cobbles and stopped cars to take the photo. White! White 5-spoke rims with just the right amount of tuck, and the whole Oettinger performance kit, misbahah hanging off the rearview mirror the finishing touch. Tight as fuck. The last of boxy small German hatchbacks before they went blobby. “See man driving a German Whip.”

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Tempelhofer Feld Pushing Towards Winter

This is so very Berlin, dim overcast light, grey and washed-out colour that has an austere intensity, not raining but damp and the air is soft with drizzle. It feels like being in the mountains or heath, far from people, walking and walking. My home is my International Orange hardshell, the brightest and most vibrant colour on the airport field, warm and dry and shielded from the wind. This, with tramping boots and a backpack, is something I miss and something that works deeply in calming my hectic inner life. I like the vastness of the land reducing me to this small, solitary thing, walking, walking.