Last updated: 2018-11-29
I determine these either by tapping into an OS X application such as “Subdivide”, or tapping into an iOS app such as “Pro Metronome” on an Apple iPad. Alternatively, I calculate them by measuring the time for a given number of beats. In either case I look for a section without too much rubato. And typically I skip the very beginning of a movement.
Unless noted otherwise, durations are without eventual applause. I may correct them for excess blank trails at the end (or at the beginning). Therefore, they may deviate from the actual (CD or download) track duration.
Most metronome & timing tables are MS Excel spreadsheets. I export these to PDF and then convert into a suitable graphics format (typically PNG). How I do the color coding in MS Excel is far too quirky to explain here.
CD Recording Information — New
CD recording information is from the CD booklet, whenever possible. Actual recording dates from the same source, if available. If none is available, I may take the ℗ year information from the media, the sleeve, or the booklet as recording date. This information may be incomplete or incorrect, but I typically don‘t do extensive research to find out about the exact recording date and location. If you happen to stumble into errors, please let me know via comments—thanks! Ideally, besides the ℗ and © information with the CD description, I would like the blog to show the date when the performance happened (studio or life), not when the recording was released. The release date sometimes is years after the performance.
CD & Booklet Front Pages — Updated
For ripped CDs from my collection, CD & booklet front pages are typically scanned. I process them with Adobe Photoshop using the following procedure:
- scan at 1200 or 2400 dpi (HP OfficeJet Pro 276dw MFP)
- straightening & cropping
- where necessary, remove spots etc., image repair
- Gaussian blurring (“Filter” -> “Blur” -> “Gaussian Blur”, just enough to remove print pattern, typically with a radius of 3 – 4 pixels). I may follow up with selective sharpening (“Filter” -> “Sharpen” -> “Sharpen Edges”)
- I may expand the Color gamut, using “Image” -> “Image adjustments” -> “Curves”
- scaling down to 150 dpi (final size around 700 x 700 pixels),
- saving in high-quality JPEG format
Concert Photos — New
Where possible, I try accessing / downloading official press photos to illustrate concert review posts—copyright information is provided in the caption and in the EXIF information for each picture.
In most concert venues (i.e., with most organizers), taking photos during performances is strictly forbidden. Where this is the case, I (or a family member) may try taking shots during the applause only, or before the performance starts. This is typically done using an Apple iPhone (models 5s, 6, 6plus, 6s, 7plus, X). I strictly avoid using flashes, and with the bad lighting in most concert venues, such iPhone shots are very modest quality (unless it’s a concert at daylight). With such photos, I will only display small images.
Occasionally (where I know I will not run into trouble), I carry along my “real” camera, i.e., a Nikon D810 (2016 – 2017) or a Nikon D850 (starting January 2018). Especially the latter offers much higher quality in poor lighting conditions. The cameras permit taking pictures with very little noise, or no shutter noise at all. I can sometimes also shoot during a performance (mostly just the encore). Again, I never use a flash in concerts. Very rarely I use a tripod. The lenses I use are one of the following:
- Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II
- Sigma 35mm F1.4 DG HSM
- Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED IF VR (rarely, exceptions only)
I’m not the concert photographer. I’m merely trying to capture my visual impressions as a (normal) listener, i.e., I usually take photos from my seat, or occasionally from a nearby position. I don’t try (nor do I have the opportunity) to capture interesting action shots: after all, I’m usually busy taking notes, reading the score, etc.—and (unlike some concert photographers) I try to work such that I cause as little disruption to other listeners as possible.