Mars Hoax

See Mars in the sky as big as the Moon

It is that time again. About every two years as Earth catches up with Mars, in their respective orbits, we see Mars bigger and brighter than at other times. The Mars hoax makes its appearance on social media. No, Mars can’t be seen as big as the moon, ever. But is is fun, and to add fuel to the hoax here is my “photo” of the event. Taken last time this happened, of course (they claim this happens every 35,000 years).

This year Mars will be close to the full Moon in the sky. For most folks there will also be a lunar eclipse (not seen from Central and North America). This will be a spectacle for astronomy buffs who know what to expect: A deep dark red moon with bright Mars near by. Mars will be about 75 times smaller in diameter than the Moon. As seen by the naked eye, just a bright light.

Those who were mislead by the social media hype will be disappointed.

Sadly, there will be photography newbies who will successfully photograph this event and come up with something like this. Not only will they “prove” the “same size” spectacle, but will think they have imaged Mars and the Moon.

You can do that too. And tongue in cheek, claim truthfully that the photo was taken with the light of the Moon and Mars and nothing else.


Take your camera out, preferably with a long focal length lens, and a tripod. Aim it at the spectacle, or if you missed it, just at Mars in the sky. Set the aperture as big, lowest f-number, as possible, set focus on manual, Then crank the focus to the closest setting – around 3 to 6 feet for most lenses. If you are using a zoom lens the longer focal length will work better for this. On a DSLR or video viewfinder you will see it pretty much as I pictured it here.

Recall from “photography 101” that light from a distant point will come out of the lens as a cone and to nearly a point at the focal length of the lens. If the sensor is at that place it will be imaged sharp. If the sensor is farther back, as shown in my quick diagram here, the light, continuing to spread in a cone, will be imaged as a circle.

In photos with shallow depth of field we see such circles and talk about “bokeh”.

It is sometimes just those light circles that are of interest, like here in my photo of an out-of-focus Christmas tree.

Christmas Tree

With just one light you will, of course, get just one circle. This is not an image of the light, rather it shows the shape of the lens aperture.

For the image above of the two light circles I used two flashlights, one brighter than the other. For the “actual Moon and Mars” hoax photo I used a full moon photo I took some years ago, superimposed one of my more recent Moon shot and an image of Mars from NASA. The reflections in the water below “Mars” are just clones from the ones below the moon. Just a few minutes of playing in PaintShop Pro.


© 2018 Ludwig Keck

Posted in Digital Photos, Photo Editing, Photography, Photos | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

Losing It

Losing It?

The term “losing it” is used to describe someone who is being to lose control and no longer has a grasp of reality. I found myself at the edge when I was trying to accomplish the simple task of setting the header image for a website.

Now I have used WordPress and its themes for many years, so this was not a problem. Nothing that I hadn’t done before. I looked at the size recommendation. It seemed a bit large as it would cover about a quarter of the screen. I have old-fashioned ideas, I like to deliver useful information to the visitors, not just a pretty picture. But that seems to be the modern trend. My artwork was narrower. It didn’t work.

After coming up with a new, property sized image I tried again. It didn’t work. The website always showed a cropped part of the header. What made it even more frustrating was seeing the cropping different when resizing the browser window. Hours of fighting passed. Surely I could do this!

Shattered World

As they say when at first you don’t succeed, try something else. My next move was to switch to another theme. Now I needed to change the size again. This time the header image width was right, but the bottom was cut off. Worse,  on other pages only a narrow strip of the bottom was shown.

Clearly, I am losing my grasp on reality. This can’t be. Nowhere could I find any explanation, any documentation. Is it me?  Has the world become just a collection of multiple reflections in fun-house mirrors?  Is there any reality left behind all these distortions? Is this just a nightmare?



© 2017 Ludwig Keck

Posted in Cafe Art, Digital Photos, Uncategorized, WordPress | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Time Change

Time Change

Time for Change!

It is that time of year again! Time to change the clocks. That includes your cameras too!

You may have decided a long time ago to leave well enough alone and not play the silly “daylight saving time” game, as I have; however it is a good time to check your gear and adjust the time. I find that my cameras tend to run a little fast, so this is an opportunity to synchronize the settings and make sure that tall the clocks are reasonably accurate.

Time Change

Not a bad time to recharge batteries and change expendable ones! How about a bit of cleaning of the gear. On second thought, let’s not get carried away …

Time Change



© 2017 Ludwig Keck

Posted in camera, Digital Photos, Photography, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

NIK to DxO

DxO acquires Nik Collection

DxO acquires the Nik Collection assets from Google, and plans to continue to develop the Collection for the benefit of the photographer community.

The current Nik Collection will remain available for free and can be downloaded from the DxO site (Click the image above).

The Nik Collection is composed of seven editing tools, usable as standalone programs or plugins for PaintShop Pro, Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, that provide a powerful range of photo editing capabilities. The current lineup of the Nik Collection includes:

  • Analog Efex Pro: Applies film-era camera, lens, and film simulations to digital images
  • Color Efex Pro: A comprehensive set of filters for color correction, retouching, and creative effects
  • Dfine: Noise reduction software for camera-specific digital images
  • HDR Efex Pro: Specialized program for processing HDR pictures
  • Sharpener Pro: Image sharpening for digital images
  • Silver Efex Pro: Black & White conversion of images with darkroom-inspired controls
  • Viveza: Selectively adjusts image color and tonality without complicated masks or selections


© 2017 Ludwig Keck

Posted in Photo Editing, Photography | Tagged , ,

Photo Editing

When is a photograph not a photograph?

Retouching, enhancing, and artful processing to bring out the best that the image can deliver, has been part of photography since its inception. Careful post-processing is essential to share the vision of the photographer with the viewer.

Today’s editing and manipulating tools are wondrously powerful and can take an image far beyond what the camera saw. Photos can be turned into images and works of art that may have just the barest resemblance to the original. “Faking” of photos is easy to do and can be utterly convincing.

Are such transformed images still photographs? Where is the line that divides photography from the derivative arts? When is a photograph not a photograph? I asked that question in an article over on Our Arts Magazine and provided my thoughts.

Is the picture here are photograph? At first blush you might think, yes, this is a photo. On closer inspection you will find artifacts that give away the “retouching”. For many uses, like in advertising and publicity pieces, the simplified image is perfectly acceptable, even desirable. It puts the emphasis on the dancers, which is, of course, the intent. For documentation or photojournalism, this is not a “photograph”. Here is the image closer to what the camera saw. It too has been enhanced to bring out the the art of the dancers.

What do you think?



© 2017 Ludwig Keck

Posted in Digital Photos, Photo Editing, Photography, Photos, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Pin Website to Taskbar

Pinning a Website to the Windows 10 Taskbar

With the old Internet Explorer it was easy to just drag the icon from the address line to the taskbar. That went away in the Edge browser.

But there is good news. The ability to pin a website that you visit frequently to your taskbar so you can get to it in just one click is coming back!

Instead of dragging the icon, in the coming update to Edge there will be an option as shown in the illustrations here.

Click the three-dot icon in the upper right of the browser window. The drop-down menu will have the option “Pin this page to the taskbar”.

It will be added to the taskbar and show the website favicon. A single click then opens Edge and goes right to the page.

Three cheers!!


© 2017 Ludwig Keck

Posted in Edge, Internet, Windows 10 | Tagged , , | 2 Comments