Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Anger and Terry Pratchett

In the foreword to A Slip Of The Keyboard by Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman talks about how Terry, who usually seemed jolly and mellow, was nothing of the kind, he had tonnes and tonnes of anger.
And Terry loved his anger, and claimed that it was the driving force behind his creative output, such as their wonderful collaborative book, the very funny Good Omens.

I hate to disagree with a genius like Terry Pratchett, but I must. While it is fantastic to be able to turn around your anger and seemingly having it contribute to powerful creative output, I think it’s a bad metaphysical mistake to *venerate* it and to think it’s a positive force. It is not. Everything is better without anger (or fear, which is below anger). Anger is rigid. You can work well *despite* anger, not because of it.

Admittedly, Anger is not something one gets rid of in a hearbeat. It takes long work. But a good start is recognizing it for what it is.

Monday, July 02, 2018

Holy Fire by Bruce Sterling

I really like the SF novel Holy Fire by Bruce Sterling. It beautifully and interestingly dramatises a theme I have not read in any other book: the conflict and contrast between wisdom and (over-)carefulness of old age and the beautiful raw life-force of youth (“holy fire”). 
How often do you seen an entirely fresh theme in a book?!

And it is powerfully described in the same character, a very old woman, Mia, who in the late 21st century gets a radical new medical treatment which rejuvenates her to an apparent age of twenty. 

And the dense culture of the late twenty-first he describes is delightful.




Monday, June 25, 2018

Courtney Hadwin, a talent is born

Must see. 
I can’t breathe for laughter and delight. 
I’m not even going to watch the last half of the video, I don’t want anything to ruin that fantastic performance... Her movements alone.
Update: I’ve watched it several times; it cheers me up every time. 


 

Sunday, June 03, 2018

A wonderful keyboard, Havit

O my flippin' gawd, I've never been this excited and frustrated at the same time. (Maybe except for a high school dance...)
 I just got a new keyboard, a Havit HV KB390L. It's compact, flat, light enough to take in a bag, and yet has mechanical switches. This combination is rare, perhaps unique at this time.

The key swithces are special flat ones, and as it turns out they are just the right key throw for me, three millimetres. And it is FANTASTIC.
 I don't normally say things like that, but seriously, from the first minute, my speed and ease of typing has never been greater. A marked upgrade from any of the 20+å keyboards I've owned (and mostly still own.)

 But: it turns out it does not have a Mac/iOS driver! Hence the frustration part. And worse, my iPad, which normally works fine with a USB keyboard, tells me this one uses too much power. Urgh! I can use it with my Mac, and I will for sure, but I really wanted to use it with my iPad, where I do 95% of my typing.

Update:
It still doesn’t have a Mac/iOS layout, but I made it work with my iPad!!
I remembered an old trick of putting an unpowered USB hub in between. That tricks the device, the peripheral no longer uses too much power... (!)

I love writing on this keyboard.
Now I just need something to say. :-)

Havit HV KB390L keyboard,
iPad Pro 12.9-inch, floor stand

Friday, May 18, 2018

“CaNikon” mirrorless coming up

Update: See the video on this page for a viewpoint on why mirrorless is so important.

So, it appears that next year, Nikon and Canon will finally get their act together and make a professional mirrorless system each.

I think they definitely will need to make a new lens mount and lenses, because keeping that huge old distance from lens to film is ridiculous. (The mirror necessitated that.) With a good adapter, people can use their old lenses for a while.

But, and this is important: I also think that for many of us, Full Frame is a dying system. It’s just too large and heavy, and unnecessarily so.
Already now, sensors are so good that the half-sized (linear) Micro Four Thirds sytem has plenty good enough image quality for professional use, and the cameras and lenses are the perfect size. (Small ones for casual use and hand-sized ones for professional.) And only half the weight of full frame gear.
And sensors are still getting better every year. In ten years, FF will be a dinosaur. Zat iz mi belif.

With the fastest lenses, you can get good background blur with M4/3 too, although of course not as extreme as with FF. But interestingly, with digital tools as in iPhone X, this can even be done in a phone. OK it’s not perfected yet, but I expect it will become so. And when it works well, it works surprisingly well!

===
“Canon has noticed the explosion of interest and progress in mirrorless cameras, and it’s trying to join the party before it’s too late. Nikkei reports that SLR sales dropped over 10% in Japan in 2017 while mirrorless sales rose nearly 30%.”
- Petapixel

Canon and Nikon has a huge amount of catching up to do now. They have simply been way too afraid of canibalizing their ancient (D)SLR lines. Fear keeps most companies from realising that if they don’t eat their babies, other animals will. That Apple is not afraid of this has helped make them the most profitable company in the world.

Not that I don’t think CaNikon won’t win back their share. The world is not often “fair” that way, it’s rarely the innovators who take the big harvest.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Tree/landscape

Tree/landscape, first new drawing in years.


(Clickable.)

Wednesday, May 02, 2018

Cafe visit


The Swan And The Swine

The Swan And The Swine, one of my most successful drawings, I made it for a poster for a concert in the Glyptotek museum in Copenhagen.

(Clickable)

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Night Vision 1-4

(Click For Big Pic)





===
iPhone X, auto, hand-held.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Carrying camera systems

The Camera Store has nice review videos. Here is one about various ways of carrying your camera systems.

Saturday, April 07, 2018

A.I. Explosion

The “artificial intelligences” we have so far, like Amazon’s Alexa, are not very impressive at all. If you ask them anything beyond what they are strictly programmed to answer, they are stumped. In other words they can’t think at all.

But I wouldn’t bet too much that they can’t get to do so. And something just struck me: it is unlikely that we will see a long, slow growth in intelligence of A.I.’s. I think that when it happens, it’s gonna go really flippin’ fast. One year they will still seem dull as bricks, and the next year they will be smarter than us, and the next they will have taken over the world, for better or worse.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Leica story, small to large

Article and video in Luminous Landscape’s nice series about the Leica camera/company.

I find it ironic that about a century years ago when Leica was founded, it was about a good camera with what was then a *tiny* negative, 35mm. Today with digital sensors, 35mm (24x36mm) is a *big* format! Unusually big; today you get better image quality than 35mm film with some cameras which have a tiny fraction of that sensor area. In other words, the basics of Leica today has nothing in common in the basics with the Leica originally.
Sure, you can say it has high quality in common, but high quality in mechanics is simply inherent in German engineering.

This is not really important, I just find it funny, because many would say that if any company has stuck to being about what it was always about, it’s Leica, but simply because of outter changes that is not true. Leica used to be a tiny-format alternative to the mainstream large-film cameras, and now it is a *large-format* alternative to the mainstream small-sensor cameras...

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Leica cine-lenses

For those who like lenses and quality gear, lookit this article/video on Leica’s new-ish line of cinema lenses.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Sony A7III

This is a fun talk about a new advanced Sony camera, if you like professional cameras.
It’s remarkable what you can get now for two grand. I think the mirrorless cameras are pulling way ahead of Canon and Nikon’s old DSLR systems now.

Notice especially the eye-following autofocus system (at about ten minutes into the video), that is amazing. Update: it’s a different kind of eye-tracking: it follows one of the subject’s eyes continually, so you don’t have to wait for the focus each time. There’s videos of it working, it’s impressive.

And the night-shooting abitlites are outstanding. (Partly a side-effect of the large sensor.)

I’ll admit though that for my use, street photography, this kind of camera (full frame) is too big and heavy, especially the lenses. I think only a pro, and a young and strong one, will want to use such gear for any length of time.

Tuesday, March 06, 2018

Would I upgrade an old film camera to digital?

My Hasselblad 500C with tele-lens.
It’s still a beutiful thing, to my mind classier than modern models.

An old friend, whom I used to photograph with when we were just teens, asked me if I’d considered a digital upgrade for my classic Hasselblad camera. It’s an interesting question considering how I revered the camera back in the day. This was my answer:

 Not really. A digital back was made for Hasselblad, but it didn’t cover the entire frame, far from it. And it was maybe a decade ago or moer, it was probably six MP or less, my iPhone now has more resolution(!). Also I don’t really care much for heavy cameras, I’m a walk-around photographer, so I like small/light gear.

 Additionally like camera reviewer/photographer/writer Steve Hynes told me even several years ago, the digital quality “sneaks up on you,” he told me that he had looked at old medium-format pictures on film of his, and the quality was really not that great compared even to smaller modern digital cameras.
 And that fits with what I’ve seen. The lenses were great for the day, but times have really changed. Modern lenses for digital are way sharper than old film lenses, all the lens makers have new digital lenses.

 It’ my opinion, and not mine alone, that modern cameras with pretty small sensors, like Olympus M4/3 cameras, make better image quality now than old 35mm cameras did, even the good ones. And that modern full-frame (35mm) cameras do better quality than old medium-format cameras like Hasselblad. And I even think that’s a quite conservative statement! (I'd have put my life on line saying something like that not too long ago, but I think time has proven this now.)

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Is effectiveness important?

Is effectiveness important?
Well, okay, the short answer is “yes”... Without the effectiveness of industrialisation, we would not have the 4-century long economic boom and gains in health and peace which we are enjoying.

But I’m suspecting it can be taken too far. I’ve been a total addict to effectiveness, for example always wanting the smallest possible camera with sufficient image quality. But sometimes I find that the super-ease of image-making in the digital era almost makes it *less* fun to make pictures than it was when you had to stand in the darkroom for hours to make a couple of good prints. Or at least more satisfying. Why are we only satisfied with an achievement if it was hard to do?
I really don’t know.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Circle/glass/BW/Abstract new photo

Circle/glass/BW/Abstract/Space


PHishing

Wow, talk about an obvious phishing scam. There were no graphics, the link was not to Paypal, and the return address was to a random site!
(They still probably get a few takers.)

From: SERVICE PAYPAL
Subject: {Spam?} Warning Notification
Date: 24 February 2018 at 11:13:37 GMT
To:  

Dear PayPal Costumer,

It has come to our attention that your PayPal account information needs to be updated as part of our continuing commitment to protect your account and to reduce the instance of fraud on our website. If you could please take 5-10 minutes out of your online experience and update your personal records you will not run into any future problems with the online service.

However, failure to update your records will result in account suspension. Please update your records before February 25, 2018.

Once you have updated your account records, your PayPal account activity will not be interrupted and will continue as normal.

Please click here (or copy/past on your browser) to update your account : http://j.gs/19081461/update[...]


Copyright 1999-2018 PayPal. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Love and Death

There are two basics in stories which call for general interest: Love and Death.

 On a lower level they are called Sex and Violence.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Image quality is quantity

I’ve had an insight: Sharpness, or more properly, resolution, how much detail a camera or lens can show, is normally regarded as “image quality”, but it really isn’t, it is QUANTITY. It is *how many details* you can show in one picture.

And quantity is impressive, especially to us males. We love big things. Which is pretty dumb, because that is not really important. Quality is more important. Quality is expression, communication.