Lightroom Preset: Deep Wolf Six

Deep Wolf Six is a starter preset for color graded (4k video) and HDR or tonemapped images. It brings vibrancy and life back into images that has been lost. As a starter preset you’ll have to manually do some slight work after the preset has been applied.

Deep Wolf Six - move mouse or finger over image, right is corrected

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This preset, like all my presets, is released under a Creative Commons BY-SA-NC-4.0 license. Please enjoy.

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Coffee and an Expat: Maria from Russia, Computational Linguist

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Photo: (c) Maria Sukhareva

Where are you originally from and where do you live now?

I was born in Russia, all the way in the North in the Polar Circle. I moved to Germany seven years ago on a German University scholarship. Right now I am a traveler, researcher, and Ph.D. Student, in that order.

You came here for university? Will you be staying past your PhD?

Absolutely. I guess I’ll be traveling a lot, I try to go on at least two big trips every year, but Germany will be my homebase. I have very little left that ties to me to Russia, except for my mother and she likes it better in Germany, too.

So, what do you do?

I joke that I read the Bible every day. Which is pretty much what I do, I am a Computational Linguist, working on automatic processing of old Germanic texts. Old Germanic peoples wrote pretty much only about one topic: religion, namely the Bible. Now we ended up with tons of religious texts which we use in a non-religious way by teaching computers how to translate them.

Tell me about your travels, that sounds pretty exciting.

Well, yes. This year [ed: 2014] I went to North Korea and Malaysia. The Malaysia trip was a little bit of a last minute thing. I’d planned to go to Costa Rica but when I arrived at the airport I was told that, since I wasn’t allowed to transfer in the US I couldn’t go there. So I looked around and found a last minute flight to Kuala Lumpur. I arrived there with my Spanish dictionaries and Costa Rica tourist guides and three months of Spanish. I had no idea where the city was or what currency they used. But it was one of the most successful trips I ever had.

North Korea was much better planned. Not by me, of course, by the North Koreans. I drove to Berlin to get a visa and they were closed already so I rang the doorbell. The lady at the embassy was totally surprised that I wanted a visa, guess there aren’t so many tourists. A few minutes later the consul came down himself and stamped my passport saying “Russia and Korea are friends, welcome to our country”. Totally nice and no hassle. People wanted to know so much about my trip, I even have a FAQ on my blog.

Was it easy making friends and meeting people; do you mainly socialise with other expats?

I speak German, and I have German and expat friends. What I miss in Germans is that they usually lack any rebellious spirit and longing for adventures. Instead they are all about having rules and organisation in everything. Thus, when they hear about my travel experiences they look at me like at a strange animal.

But it’s easy to make acquaintances, especially here in Frankfurt with its big expat community.

What do you enjoy most about living abroad, Germany or elsewhere?

That you don’t have big problems. I mean, if you have so little problems that a few flies in a kitchen, two or three Neo-Nazis walking around the city, or five percent less payment for a similarly qualified woman are your biggest ones, you have a pretty great life. It is not that I think it is ok that women are 5% underpaid, but I would rather be concerned with it than with unemployment, corruption and high criminal rates.

Also that everything is so close, here. You can actually travel. In Russia we measured distances by days, not minutes or hours or kilometers. Everything below a day or so was “close by.” Here you can get anywhere. I am not planning on being unemployed but if I had to be I’d like to be unemployed here.

Leaving the house here, you still feel safe. In other parts of the world there are two states — being at home and not being as safe. In Germany you’re still safe, mostly, even when not at home.

What negatives, if any, are there to living here?

No big ones. It is usual cultural differences. For example, a Russian person would never take drinks he brought to a party back home if it isn’t consumed or would never occupy 2 seats on a train when there are people standing. In Russia, you first make sure that you do not bother anyone and then that no one bothers you, in Germany it is the other way around.

Night Hawks

Frankfurt by Night

I walked the dark alleys and dimly lit streets to find myself in a lost city.

At night angels wear high heels and the devil smokes expensive cigars in the back of a limousine.

Desire dances reluctantly to the beat of an urban heart.

The voices are bagged and tagged, stored cold, for tomorrow morning’s autopsy under the judgmental sunlight of public opinion.

 → image on flickr.

Open Markets

Cheesemonger arguing pecorino aging with a customer
I love the open markets in Frankfurt. I’m not even kidding when claiming that, theoretically, one could spend a year never cooking at home or going into a restaurant and live a healthy, varied, and tasty life simply by visiting the food stalls and open markets which are open that day.

The Südbahnhof Open Market is open Tuesdays and Fridays, ensuring it won’t conflict with other nearby venues. From breads, freshly baked, to canned meats and spreads, everything you’d need to get a good “Brotzeit” together. (“Bread Time,” generally pretty much any time you simply eat cold cuts, bread, and spreads, more specifically meaning the second breakfast around 10am). Read More

Coffee and an Expat: Claudia from Romania

Claudia

Who are you? Where are you from? And how did you get to Germany?

I am Claudia, from Romania originally. I came here by way of Italy, where I’ve worked for a year when my sister, who had been a nanny in Germany, got a call from her old family if she knew anyone to do what she did for the first kid for the second. I called, interviewed, and now I am here as a governess and go to school. Read More