Light Quotes

Extract from the novel Born With Wings

“Your rendezvous, My Lady!” MadMax was smiling secretively as he pointed upwards with his paw. The goose spread her wings and honked, creating such a draft that poppies were blown sideways. “The sky is waiting, let’s take a tour!”

“For sure!” Pippa rolled her eyes and turned her attention back to the flowers. Like papery flames, each petal faded into white at the base where dewdrops reflected the light.

It was not just any color. It was light . . . infatuated with life!  

Quote from 'Born with Wings' - A Spiritual Novel by Bianca Gubalke

MadMax gazed at the symphony of red above his head, speckled with dashes of a blue sky like windows to heaven. “Were you not looking for the blue flower?” he asked, his voice somewhat monotone.

He had Pippa’s attention immediately.

“How badly do you want it? Do you really, really want to know?”

His intensity took her by surprise. She stared at him, unable to say a word.

“How far are you willing to go?”


Extract from:

Born with Wings – The Immortal Life of Piu Piu

A Spiritual Novel by Bianca Gubalke

BORN WITH WINGS - The Immortal Life of Piu Piu - A Novel

Digital Photography by Bianca Gubalke

How to fix Fuji upload problems since WIN10

Fuji X-E1 problems on MS Windows 10

Once we Fuji X-E1 owners upgraded our computers to Microsoft Windows 10, we ran into an annoying problem: we could no longer upload our photos via the USB cable. This is the message we get:

Import Pictures and Video Message for Fuji X-E1

Of course, we first thought “What did I do wrong? Is it the battery? Is it… ?” You wondered what the bleep was going on! And while we saw fellow Fuji users complaining in forums about the same issue, there was no solution in sight. Not then… So I uploaded the images on my good old laptop where I still run an older version of Windows – and it worked. Perfectly so. Clearly, it was the Windows 10 update.

All this happened to me in August 2015. That’s when I upgraded to Win10 . . . and as website and media designers, we know how important photos are on today’s web.

Support for Fuji X-E1 cameras in sight for December 2015

Hoping that Fuji or Microsoft might solve the issue, I left it for a while – but after a new and hopeful trial today, I saw that nothing had changed. So I googled Fuji again and, finally, got my answer in form of an announcement by Fuji Film:

The new OS of Windows10 has been released from Microsoft. We have confirmed that images in a camera cannot be transferred to a Windows10 PC via a USB cable because the camera doesn’t recognize OS information of Windows10.

Note: This symptom happens only when a PC is connected to a camera via a USB cable. So, there is no problem when you use a memory card slot in the PC or a card reader.

And they continue:

We will provide upgraded firmware for models with the symptom by posting the firmware on the Global website.

With that said, they provide a time schedule for the release of upgraded firmware, and a list of applicable camera models – namely those launched as of 2010, including the X-E1.

According to that schedule, the problem for the Fuji X-E1 will be resolved around year-end, i.e. December 2015.

If you’re a happy owner of this fabulous camera model as well, keep an eye on the global Fuji site. Our frustration will have an end!

Of course, if you have a memory card slot in your computer, or a card reader, your problem never occurred respectively can be solved fast.

Thank heavens for ‘old’ laptops …



How to correct distortions

How to correct distortions

The question “How to correct distortions” arises pretty quickly in digital photography, especially when taking photos of architecture and interiors.

Here the latest ADOBE Photoshop CC comes with an excellent new filter: Camera Raw, as already mentioned in my article on the Ycademy Seminar July 2013.

How to correct distortions with Camera Raw

How to correct distortions

Before looking into how to correct distortions in the new Photoshop CC, let’s contemplate what we’re actually dealing with.

Who has not tried to take a picture of a monument without the possibility of standing straight in front of it and, ideally, at middle height, so the lens includes the top and the bottom at about equal lengths? The problem becomes even bigger in those old little towns with narrow streets that offer such beautiful scenery – and often we do the odd snapshot and we remember it all – but at the PC, when we look at it: oh no! We had to probably tilt the camera upward or downward and the vertical lines fell apart. And not only those…

As to interiors, they are a challenge in itself – just experiment with different lenses in small rooms and you know what I mean.

It is very irritating, however, to be presented with a building with distorted lines. Something is out of balance; it influences the way the viewer is guided and the quality of the picture is lost. Lines have to be naturally straight – unless we want to make a totally different statement, in which case we should exaggerate to show our intention.

Here however, we want to look into what possibilities we have to ‘rescue’ pictures taken without the professional garb but a normal camera – by using the tools and filters Photoshop CC offers.

Filter Lens Correction

What we had before already and it’s still there, is the Filter Lens Correction, where we could possibly find our camera make, camera model and lens model. Tick Preview and Show Grid bottom left. See zoom and other tools top left.

We want to look at Custom Correction (not auto correction). Under Transform, play with the vertical and horizontal sliders and the scale, and see what it does to your picture. Check the results also by unticking auto-scale (under Auto Correction).

Seeing what often ‘disappears’ from the picture itself once it is cropped after these corrections, teaches us to always leave sufficient space around the picture when we are out there in the field and take it – for exactly this reason.

It’s the big game of perspective!

Camera Raw

Photoshop CC has come up with an amazing additional filter under Camera Raw.

Messy picture with rainbow

This is how I corrected my snapshot here, which was really messy as it was done on the fly, pulling a door open for a second with rain and icy cold coming in, and the rainbow being visible literally for seconds only! I caught that magic moment, so I wanted this messy picture to look… acceptable!

Don’t we all know these situations?

So here I had some serious line issues – horizontal as well as vertical – and to get the above result I did a few simple steps that gave amazing results:

First, I converted my JPG into a Smart Object. Then I chose the Camera Raw filter, where I went to Manual tab (we don’t focus on colours and chromatic aberations this time). Here I selected the Lens Correction Icon from the list of icons top right under the histogram. What we find are various ways of transforming Distortions vertically and horizontally, Rotations, Scale and Aspect, besides Lens Vignetting.

Note the little tick to show the grid, which I find very helpful.

Play around with all this and experiment, observing the results.

Then however, do just one tick on A for automatic at the top… that’s exactly what I did… and WOW! The result was just awesome – talking normal photos here. Of course, one can spend hours for perfection… but for a fast good result this tool is just amazing! Try the others as well and you will find that Adobe has come up with a smashing tool!

Use the aspect tool for windows, for example; it’s very helpful, too.

I played a bit with vignetting, the interesting point being here that one can rotate along a midpoint.

Brief: a fantastic tool to correct distortions – try it! Good luck!


Ycademy Seminar July 2013

Ycademy Seminar July 2013

The Ycademy Seminar July 2013, held this past weekend, focused on the brilliant new features in ADOBE CC, namely Photoshop and InDesign.

Ycademy Seminar July 2013 designed by Bianca Gubalke

 Ycademy Seminar July 2013

What became clear at the Ycademy Seminar July 2013 was that ADOBE CC has made an impressive effort to address the needs especially of Photographers – and that’s what we looked at in particular.

Despite the fact that there were always ways to get results via different paths, I found it a bit confusing to see sort of ‘double entries’ when it came to certain filters, However, it may be that ADOBE is still working on integration issues and, sooner or later, there is just the perfect tool or fully integrated filter at hand for whatever post-editing task we address – period! Although with the rapid changes and developments on the electronic front – and not only there – we are always on moving sand in a way, trying to catch up and holding our breath never mind our balance – I am sure that’s the final goal! Ooops, final… perhaps not!

Digital Photography

With Digital Photography being so essential to our Website Design, it’s important to be up-to-date with current trends and developments.

The fact that the larger public can take good digital photos via the many mobile devices on the market today – iphones, ipads, smartphones and the lot – and even post-edit them to a degree, demands increasing quality from professionals in the field – even if we as web designers cannot compete with the top photographers in the field, starting, last but not least, with the professional equipment! Although, I don’t say that a good photo depends just on that, by far not – and I personally  endeavour to take a good photo that needs only a minimum of retouche if at all – but having that amount of additional data at one’s disposal makes a huge difference, especially also when post-editing. And often the photos we take on a snap are not perfect, but it’s all we have and we have to use it. So what now?

Camera Raw

This brings us back to the Ycademy Seminar, as we went into Camera Raw and we could see the tremendous difference when having a raw file at our disposal! Holly’s eye was suddenly no longer a tiny detail at a distance; it mirrored the whole world like a lens!

The Camera Raw Filter is a fantastic new feature you find under ‘Filters’ on the new ADOBE CC. It comes up in a sleek interface that reminds of the filter ‘Perfectly Clear’.

Bianca Gubalke Showcase 2012

In the next posts I will go into some features, exercising – just that!

And… time-permitting, of course!

Agave attenuata 2013

Agave attenuata 2013

In May 2011, I made this Agave attenuata image with a corresponding article; today the winter weather was brilliant and ideal for some digital photography! I photographed this Agave attenuata 2013 also in my garden in Noordhoek, South Africa, but in a different spot. Meanwhile, I have tons of these stunning plants, however, I have no clue what makes them explode! It’s a real spectacle and one can watch the process over time.

Agave attenuata 2013 by Bianca Gubalke Photography

Agave attenuata 2013

Today’s agave attenuata 2013 image I took with my Fuji X- E1 and the amount of detail is staggering! While I’m still struggling tremendously to really ‘see sharp’ (versus C sharp, the earth’s own tone, that I play quite often as it is so calming…), I think here I got it right. I see it better in black & white; the original colours are a very pale cream yellow.

I took the picture when the sun was coming up; hardly anything was in full light. The flowers only started to bloom; most of them are still closed. They start from the bottom and then rise towards the tip of what is aptly called “swan’s neck” or also “lion’s tail”.

Sadly, the motherplant will die after her weeks of glory, but at the base of her stem are already the baby suckers that will take over, so to speak. Of course, I may transplant them to other places in the garden, but for the time being I just enjoy another of Nature’s splendid displays!

Romance is in the air

Romance is in the air

Clearly, romance is in the air between this stunning Belgian Shepherd and his new friend, a beautiful Border Collie. They are both about the same age.
Belgian Shepherd loves Border Collie - photographed by Bianca Gubalke

Not too long ago, Hollie got the fright of her life when she first met the big golden dog with the incredible jaws – who wouldn’t? But as they have to learn to get along with one another now, I did the trick with the stick, some cookies, some cuddles and, most importantly, me and my wellies always inbetween. Safety first. Hollie wasn’t comfortable at all, though highly interested in having a play- and runmate, not to speak of a playboy! Although… no, let’s not go there!

Belgian Shepherd loves Border Collie - photographed by Bianca Gubalke

After having some close and personal talks with the awe-inspiring yet gentle Mojo, he became so incredibly gentlemanlike that I melted away. Completely, that is! Well, there wasn’t much left of me anyway since we met for the first time. Look how he reaches with his giant paws across my wellies,paws-up – I’m all your’s, no hidden agenda, no guns. Pretty rare these days…

Belgian Shepherd loves Border Collie - photographed by Bianca Gubalke

No wonder Hollie was totally smitten! Look at her! Well, what would YOU do?

Belgian Shepherd loves Border Collie - photographed by Bianca Gubalke

Romance is in the air

Meanwhile, Mojo hid his face and laughed! He just knew it had worked again… he’s just irresistible! It seems, even those jaws were no deterrent  anymore and, definitely, suddenly there was Romance in the air!
And besides, who doesn’t want a strong and protective partner during rough times?

Belgian Shepherd loves Border Collie - photographed by Bianca Gubalke

Which was the cue for me to take both on a long hike up into the mountain, where you feel just so much better if you have those sort of jaws around. Just in case… these days, one just never knows!

Bianca Gubalke Showcase 2012

I just couldn’t resist to share these talking pictures – enjoy!

Original article by © Bianca Gubalke

Dill from Noordhoek

Dill from Noordhoek

“Dill from Noordhoek” could become a niche product for me as the plants are thriving so well in my garden! As we are moving towards the shortest day and the longest (and probably coldest) night down here in the Southern hemisphere at the tip of Africa, we have to use every minute of sunshine to get on with all that needs to be done in the garden, planting and transplanting, just before the next storm or rains hit us!
Dill from Noordhoek by Bianca Gubalke Photography

That’s when I also noticed that my dill (Anethum graveolens), which is also called ‘Lao coriander’ when grown in Laos and Thailand, is much higher than the 40-60 cm mentioned in many manuals! It’s not only a very useful culinary as well as medicinal plant and herb, but in my view also pretty decorative in gardens, besides the fact that it attracts beneficial insects. I love the fragrance and use almost everything – the fernlike aromatic leaves, stems and seeds – when preparing delicious meals, especially in winter vegetable soups, colourful healthy salads and fish dishes. It’s unbeatable in mashed potatoes, cucumber pickles  and with smoked salmon.

Here we go again: food! I could go on and on. . . so could you, I’m sure !
Dill from Noordhoek by Bianca Gubalke Photography

Dill from Noordhoek

My other agenda when it comes to ‘Dill from Noordhoek’ is, of course, digital photography! And Dill is so incredibly photogenic! Whether as a plant with its fine twigs and umbrella-shaped yellow flowers or when the seeds ripen! As I’m not back to normal eye-sight just yet, I am starting slowly to get back into swing with my images. The photo below is the original I took about a month ago with my Fujifilm – and I think it’s rather sharp although, at that time, I wasn’t seeing that sharp anymore and wondered why!

Dill from Noordhoek by Bianca Gubalke Photography

But to get back into swing, I worked on this simple photo in ADOBE Photoshop to give it a different look, an antique frame, and playing with black & white values. When seeing the photo, I immediately saw an arum lily as well, and tried to bring this out as a little side note – not that it is important, but it inspired me to work around it! If you squeeze your eyes and look at it from further away, it’s actually quite amazing!

So that’s for today’s article on “Dill from Noordhoek”…. working my way up again after losing all my work since February due to a bad hack – so don’t be surprised by seeing changes in the website soon, too!

Have a happy weekend and enjoy a good meal – with or without dill!