Black Mouse Photo

Mouse Photo

My half-brother likes mouses and had several of them. When he presents them, I always have to take photos because they are so cute. I shot the photo above last summer. I really can’t await when I get better photography gear some day because the images would be more clear. Anyway, I think the photo is not too bad. Needs to be in my photo collection!

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Another Cat Paw And Claw Photo

Cat Paw And Claw

I thought I upload another photo for my cat paws and claws photo series. Above you can see a close-up shot that I took with my point and shoot camera when Shyna did scratch on a cardboard box.

Posted in Animals and Pets, Cats, Life, Nature and Animals, Photography, Photography and Design | Tagged , , , , , , | 4 Comments

About Homelessness, Poverty And Social Welfare

Today I found a post of a fellow blogger. She was in Melbourne and walked under a bridge and found a bridge pylons where people obviously paid tribute to a person. There were gifts, flowers but also writings on the stone with the word “Mouse”. Please go and read her article. She researched later and found out that Mouse was a homeless man who got stabbed to death.

What a sad end, being homeless and then stabbed to death. The homicide alone makes this story already sad but she brings up another good point, it’s terrible that we have homeless people in our rich societies, and I agree, no matter how they came into the situation, it´s a shame that it is possible in rich countries. And we should do more to prevent it and we should do more to get them out if they are in a messy situation.

There are some reasons why I link her article. First, my blog got a lot of support over the time and I now want to start to give something back at times, in case I find something very important or interesting and that means that I also will share links to stories of other people, if I have an opinion on the subject that makes me write more than a small comment. Her article made me think and inspired me. I do also mean that it is very important to create awareness about this subject. Writing this, I do sit in a warm room in front of my computer and that is ideal but not a matter of course as not all people have this luck. I want to write about homelessness from a German perspective now.

Homeless on the Street

Here in Germany, people without jobs or homeless people can get unemployment benefits but the whole process is a lot of bureaucracy. Most people know how to fill out that form to get help in form of money but even then, the truth is that some people are overwhelmed with that. At times when I discuss about it, the common counter-argument is “You can´t be homeless in our country Germany”. But the fact is that there are homeless people on the streets and that means it’s clearly possible. These people need help, regardless of why they weren’t able to fill out any forms on their own to get help. There should clearly be some kind of “street workers” who patrol cities to offer homeless people help with that bureaucracy and other things. We have enough money to do that. So, what is the reason that I still can see homeless people on the streets when I walk through the city?

We have these “street workers” for young drug addicts because the common opinion is that you can still help them. We can do that with matured homeless people too, there is enough money and enough knowledge, it’s a shame that it doesn’t happen and I disagree when people say “You can’t help them anymore”. Admitted, talking about homeless people, it might be less of a problem here compared to other countries. But I go so far that even if I just see ten homeless people in the city, it still means that there is not done enough. In my small city I might find so many but if I visit Hamburg once in a while, it won’t take much time to see way more of them.

It’s always said that we have enough institutions to help those people and this is true, but how can a homeless know where to go, they don’t even have a phone or internet access and if they get refused in a hospital because they are poor but not ill, it shows how difficult it might be for them. I agree with many people, we can’t force people to get out of their mess, but I believe we can actively offer it. It’s not enough to say that there are facilities that will help people. Workers of the facilities should actively go out and offer advice how to get into a social welfare program. The problems are not inside the facilities, the people there get already help, there are problems outside on the streets as well.

To be honest, I would be amused if it wouldn´t be so sad… because there are a lot of studied people in the governments, institutions and facilities, but they all have something in common. They are highly uncreative and can’t think out of the box. We don’t need to force anybody to accept help, we just need more creative and active ways to offer it, and that directly on the streets. But that is not possible with people who refer to antiquated arguments such as “We can help people, they just need to want it” without going on the streets to tell it people in need directly. I wish that decision makers will some day learn to think out of the box.

I can help too and I did this many times. When I saw a homeless in front of a bakery, I sometimes bought not only buns for me, I bought some more and helped a person at least with one more meal. When a work-mate saw me doing that, he asked “Why do you do that? He could get money if he would ask for unemployment benefits!” and I felt really shocked when I heard his opinion because for some it isn’t that easy for whatever reason. Yes, I am not rich and I can’t give out tons of buns every day, but at times I can spend a few coins more if it’s left over, and then it won’t make me poor but it helps someone for a moment. It doesn’t matter to me why this person is still in this situation. But right, also my possibilities are limited and I can’t allot things every day but that brings me back to the point, governments and institutions can and they do, but they forget those who can’t ask for this kind of help on their own. The advice how to do that and how to accept the help, that should be actively offered where it is needed, on the streets or under the bridge as the folk saying goes.

Decision makers should really think about it. I believe that there could be great concepts if a lot of people discuss and plan it while sitting around a table. I can’t imagine that the society comes up with new innovations and great concepts every day while other areas stand still. My first idea would be to create small units of “street workers” who actively go visit places where the homeless people are, to offer advice how to accept help or how to get into help programs. That wouldn’t even need to happen on a basis that sounds like “You have the choice, accept our help or stay on the street”, I think it rather should start slowly, regular visits to meet homeless people and to slowly check out if some people might want to accept help and if there is potential. A slow integration process that is in order, first a home and welfare application, maybe helping to get them into drug-counseling service, medical assistance, maybe even psychotherapy if needed, integration into programs that might offer social activity like sport clubs or other things that create a daily life structure again. All that is already available and just needs to be offered slowly to the people in need. Actievely and not passively offered!

Yes, the process to get out there were help is needed, that would cost again money, but to be honest, we have enough of it. I wouldn’t believe if someone says we don’t. I just can speak of Germany and a lot of things are already good here but I don’t think that it means we shouldn’t improve further. It’s always good to develop strategies that go far beyond, I wish this would be common practice because that would be humanity.

There are many reasons why some people fall by the wayside, we shouldn’t ask why they don’t come to ask for help, we should ask them if they want to get back on track and help them succeed. That’s my opinion about it. That’s something that needs to be developed further. If I see ten or hundred homeless people on the streets, not even one would be acceptable in a rich country like ours. That we still have homeless people, that is indeed very terrible and a sign that our society is in some cases not really advanced but rather blind on both eyes.

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Shyna And Me… Freshly Pressed

Shyna And Paper

It was a little bit more silent on my blog over the days. There were some bad and good news that kept me busy but today I only want to talk about the good news. The good news is related to my blog. I have a new photo of my cat for you that you can see above! Ok wait, that happens regularly (laughing). There is something else. One of my posts got a lot of attention as it got featured on the front page of WordPress, or Freshly Pressed as it is called here. I researched some funny cat quotes, created a list of my favorite quotes and published it at the beginning of the month together with a photo of my cat Shyna. Last weekend it surprisingly happened, the post got hit by a wave of attention and that kept me busy for some days.

Even if my blog got already a lot of traffic over the past anyway (mainly Google visitors), I was quite happy when I found out that one of my posts got featured. There are also some major differences between traffic that comes through Google and the traffic that comes from the Freshly Pressed section here. If your blog is somewhat established on Google, the numbers will be pretty stable but this doesn´t mean that every visitor will drop a comment. With the Freshly Pressed section it is the other way around as the additional traffic spike period just lasts as long as your article is on the front page but the key difference is that the visitors are bloggers and social media enthusiasts who use the whole tool set that is available to us. That means they commented, shared and liked until my provider and email client worked hard to deliver all the email notifications.

That was clearly a fun experience but also a lot of work. But I would lie if I would say that I didn´t enjoy it. I think most of us share our ideas and thoughts because it´s an activity we started to enjoy. Most longtime bloggers probably did enjoy it in both cases, with zero attention at the beginning and with increasing attention over time. I think this is the right approach because if you like already the activity alone, some extra attention will just round it up. I am very thankful that this happened. I am not only thankful that WordPress featured one of my posts, I do also want to thank those who came here to take a look on my blog, and I want to thank those who already supported and socialized with me since some time.

It´s exciting what our technology makes possible and I am really glad that I can meet so many interesting people even if they are far away. While it is sometimes hard to maintain a balance (spending time on the own blog to create content and spending time on other blogs to read there), especially if you follow several blogs, I found already a lot of interesting stories and media that I enjoyed pretty much. So, I don´t only thank those who came here, I do also thank those who entertained me with their stories, photos and other content. That all makes me want to stay and be a part of the community for a long time.

Talking about the luck again that one of my posts got featured for a moment, I think the comment frequency seems to decrease now back to normal. If you are regular visitor, you know what you can expect next. If you are new follower then be prepared, there is no other way to explain what you can expect, it´s higgledy-piggledy. If I am highly inspired it could be a roller coaster ride through all kind of subjects that I find interesting or even things that annoy me. But it could also happen that you see photos of my cat for weeks but that is her fault (laughing).

I think this introduction fits very well. But it is also a good point to end my article here.

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Dreamy

Dreamy Cat

My last participation in the Weekly Photo Challenge is some time ago. The reason is that they don´t send out new emails anymore when there is a new challenge. It´s really some time ago when I contacted them about this issue and they said that it is a small hiccup of their servers. This is months ago. Yes, I could still find their challenges in the WordPress reader but if you follow a lot of blogs, you´ll miss some posts.

Anyway, I saw another person posting an entry today and thought “Right, I should do that again too!”. The motto of this week is dreamy, and as always it is up to us how we interpret it. I though the photo that I did attach to my post would really fit. My cat Shyna looks a little bit dreamy on the photo. Or she looks as if she would daydream. She probably did heck out new plans!

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A Red Flower

Red Flower

Yet another photo for my flower collection. It´s some time ago and I think my mother shot this photo with her phone. This is a very beautiful photo and I like the flower. I guess she did take the photo in her garden. Needs to be in my collection.

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We Had A Frightening Weekend, My Grandma Came To The Hospital

I was quite frightened this weekend. On Friday I got a phone call and my mother told me that my grandma came to the hospital. She does have too high blood pressure at times but this time it was extremely high. Grandma was away from our city when this happened on Friday. The emergency service had to decide if they bring her to the nearest hospital or to our city hospital that was more far away. They decided to drive to the nearest hospital because she has been at risk to get a heart attack if it takes too much time. That was a shock for the whole family and we all were frightened.

She is still in the hospital in the other city but the good news is that her blood pressure is now back to normal as they could intervene with medicine right away. They still need to monitor her but she can laugh again. Today in the morning they told her that she is in the bed since some days and that she can already walk as this is important for her circulatory, but as I know grandma, she did take the words too serious and walked five floors up and down and that four times in a row (She always enjoyed walking fast and much). She got a higher blood pressure again and the doctors told us that they didn´t say she should do sport, they meant she should just walk a few meters to get the circulatory back to normal. That means she must be still a little bit careful, but grandma probably thought “I can walk again? Cool, let me walk some miles up and down in the building”.

Even after the incident today, she is not in a critical condition as she had been on Friday, and we are very happy that she recovers. We just had to tell her “Slowly, don´t overdo and please listen what they tell you, ok?”. While they said they need to monitor her, we talked already about the alternative to transport her to our bigger city where we have a very specialized hospital. The doctor said that they probably manage that but she should be at least another week in that hospital when she arrives. Our city Lübeck has one of the best cardiology clinics worldwide. A lot of things were researched here. In general, we have a top clinic that is basically like a city in it´s own (It´s really as large like a city district). Also since grandma suffers from a congenital cardiac valvular defect, it´s probably the best place to examine her latest problem further.

While she is already ok now again, I really must say that Friday was one of these days that knock you immediately down to earth. What can happen, or what could happen, that is something I usually don´t think that much about. It´s because I don´t have much experience with it as there were not too big health problems in my family. As I didn´t know everything about the incident on Friday and my mother didn´t have that much details in this moment as well, we all were in panic. You maybe know what I mean, we just heard the words “Heart” and “Blood pressure” until we got more details from family members. This made us very afraid because you think about all kind of scenarios then. We are so happy that it didn´t came worse on Friday. Anyway, it´s that time when you think a lot about your loved ones, life, and the valuable time we all are allowed to spend together. What I experienced on Friday, I think that might be called fear of loss. When everything is good, we sometimes really forget that this is not taken for granted. These thoughts make me afraid. Anyway, now I just want to be happy that grandma feels already much better.

I had to get this out of my head anyhow.

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Ladybug On The Pavement

Ladybug On The Pavement

Above is one image that I shot this summer but as I have a hilarious amount of images, I am not always able to upload them in time. But I think this is a beautiful photo that shouldn´t be absent in my ladybug photo collection on my blog.

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The Roudmap To The Nikon D7100


One of the things that my blog taught me is that I pretty much enjoy taking photos. When I remember right, everything started when I noticed that I can glam up my articles with photos. I began to add photos to my articles in an ever-increasing rhythm. At some point, I didn´t know anymore what exactly I wanted to highlight and share, thoughts or photos? Today I know, both, words and images. It didn´t take me a long time to figure out that my interest in graphic design did benefit from my huge photo folders too. I had my own material now, my own work that I could edit whenever and however I wanted to, but I noticed the technical limits of my camera pretty early. I got the idea to save money for a decent camera that is both, technically and qualitatively superior to my point and shoot or smartphone camera, and secondly also complex enough to give me more freedom to create what I want, beautiful digital work. That is a plan I am working on since some time now.

Usually I dislike to show photos as the money image that I attached to my article here. Simply said, because I dislike to appeal like a prole. But my intention is a different one. I want to motivate myself, I want to remind me that I am not too far away on that route to a decent camera. I save money since some time to make my idea come true. There are other costs in my life so that it takes some time. But I am patient and I do believe that you can achieve things with persistence. Watching into my money-box, it seems I am right. It motivates me even more.

Some people did suggest that I could do it on easy terms if I am truly into photography. But I never liked the idea to get me something that I can´t pay here and now with hard cash. My philosophy is that you can´t own something that you got with a settlement made in instalments. I prefer to put money into a box that is remaining by the end of the month. That is something that I really own. I prefer to calculate how much I could save. That is something that is called realism. I don´t need banks to help me out, because I know they want me in that trap. I strongly believe that they don´t want to do you a favor, all they want is to milk you out, which is why I do it on my own.

I did put certain amounts into the box each month and I do now have savings of 450 Euro. There are additionally 150 Euro that I did lend loved ones that needed help and who will pay back. That means I basically saved 600 Euro (should be around 760 US Dollar). I have been in the inner-city last week to buy me a new jeans but then I saw a photography store and went in to take a look. I saw the Nikon D7100 that is on my radar since some time. They sell them for 950 Euro including a kit lens. That means I am just 350 Euro away to reach my goal. But I have a few things at home that I don´t need anymore but that could be worth 200 Euro and I might sell the stuff at some point on Ebay, I am just not sure yet. However, it would catapult me a few steps further and I realized that I could achieve my goal soon.

But as I am a realist and patient, my roadmap is calculated different. I think that the beginning of 2014 is a realistic deadline. It doesn´t even matter for me if I get the camera in February or two months later. I am that patient and know that this is not a long time anyway. And if I reach it earlier, it won´t disappoint me. That´s why I calculate with more time. But enough talked about the savings.

How I found out about the Nikon D7100 and why it might be the camera I want? I thought it is wise to research a lot before I throw that bunch of money on the table. One of the achievements of the internet is that you can now research on your own. Remember the time when you went into a store and all you could do is trusting the statements of a salesperson? Fortunately, this time is over. It´s so great that you can find many product related reviews or comparisons with Google. YouTube and all the video reviews make it even more perfect. There is so much you can do and it is no problem at all to dig deep into the subject if you spend time. That´s what I did and still do. I didn´t only research about photography hardware I did also research a lot about photography.

I regularly watch videos of experts who share their knowledge. I know quite a lot about DSLR photography and it is somewhat funny because I don´t even own a DSLR camera yet. It´s some months ago when I had a talk with a photographer and he asked about my camera. When I told him that I just have a smartphone and a point and shoot camera, he stared to laugh and said “Wow, cool bro! You seriously should get you a DSLR, why to hell do you know all that stuff already without even owning one?” and I answered “That´s my plan mate, that´s my plan” and he said “Well, to be honest, that is much better than the other way around!”.

I saw a lot of reviews not only about Nikon cameras but also about Canon, Pentax and others. I think they all do build great cameras if I believe the reviews but to nail it down, I had to ask myself what I want from a camera. It´s not easy but that´s basically how I found the Nikon D7100. Talking about Nikon, I know, with my money I could already get me a D5200 but saving for a D7100 is possible too as I mentioned. The D7100 is technically better than the D5200 to make it short. It´s often mentioned that you could just start low as a beginner but that´s not how I do think.

I know already that I like photography and I know that I will demand more at some point. I would regret it if I notice too early what I could have if I would just have spent some more money. To be honest, this happened to me several times for example when I started playing guitar. I still do that today and sometimes I think “Why did I buy so many cheap guitars, why didn´t I just buy a good one that cost a little more?”. I don´t want that to happen again. Back to photography, the D7100 is in my price range while everything above would be just way more difficult to save for. The D7100 as a enthusiast’s DSLR is a compromise between an entry-level model like the D5200 and the more professional and more expansive gear that is available for even higher prices. After watching so many videos and reading so many reviews, I do think that the D7100 is a real good compromise.

The main reason why I rather want the D7100 that the camera has a faster shutter speed and better burst mode and that is really something I want from a camera. This camera also has a faster auto-focus and more auto-focus points. Image quaility is noise free up to ISO 6400. Also it comes with way more features. Then the camera has two memory card slots that you can use to split or mirror files (RAW, JPEG). The D7100 has an optional battery grip. The D5200 is build with plastic while the D7100 is more solid due to the magnesium alloy material. The D5200 is more user-friendly but that is nothing positive and tells me that it will limit me at some point as it will be probably harder to get to the more advanced options (There is a reason why more expansive gear is more complex).

I probably forgot a lot of reasons why I would prefer the D7100 but it´s just clear that the D5200 is a beginner model and the D7100 more something for enthusiasts. The price of the D5100 got me tempted a few times but at the end I stayed strong. As with other interests, I am quite sure that I won´t be a beginner for a long time as I study my interests and that might make me an enthusiast, which means I could demand more then. The D7100 leave a little more margin here and fits too when I talk again about my savings roadmap, even if it takes longer. Talking about the reason why I would prefer a Nikon D7100 over a Canon D600 for example, that would just expand my article too much. Both cameras have their advantages I found out with all the reviews. Fortunately I have still enough time to research more or to change my plans. But at the moment everything looks as if I would have chosen the Nikon D7100 already. Let´s see when the time has come. At the end I should also have all the cameras in my hands once to see if I like the handling, that is a factor too. As said, it´s still some time to check that all out.

But that were some details about my plan to get more into photography. If you are photographer, feel free to tell me your opinion. You are probably way more experienced then and I would like to hear what more advanced photographers think about my plan.

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Sleepless Night Photoshop Session

Shyna Photoshopped

Above you can see another new image of Shyna that I edited heavily with Photoshop as the original image was not that good. But I think I like what I made out of it. I really like that artistic or surreal approach because I have enough normal photos of my cat, and I thought why not creating some crazy stuff again. It´s also Photoshop exercise and good for improving.

The original had such a bad quality that I decided to delete it afterwards. But I do like the edited image anyhow. It´s definitely an image that I wanted to store on my blog. But I should take a look tomorrow again as I saw it for too long today. It´s difficult to judge if you brew on an image for too long.

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