Saturday, March 10, 2012

Ondrej Pakan macro photos

Ondrej Pakan macro photos.

These are really amazing, visually. They get great abstraction from the close-up-ness, and even more from the raindrops.

I would love to know what is the "special lens" that he uses. The lower one seems to have unusually deep depth of field, with normal lenses you can only get part of the insect sharp.

Andreas pointed at Helicon Remote, software which will automatically run the camera and make focus braketing, ready to be combined with Helicon Focus software. And indeed, some of their samples are macros of insects.

Can you get mail notifications?

On a different Blogger blog it seems there is no longer any option to select getting an email notification when somebody puts in a comment on a specific post. Can you guys still get that from my blog?

Friday, March 09, 2012

Soon to grow up

So I'm 49 today. Which means in a year I'll be 50, and it will be time to figure out what to do with my life. So I have just one year left of being young and rapscallious*, better make the most of it.

*According to the dictionary, that's not a word. Hard to believe, it's a pretty obvious one, methinks. 

Thursday, March 08, 2012

Shell Game: An Art Show About the Financial Meltdown

Kickstarter rocks.
It's interesting to me how female fine arts painters are very often quite beautiful.
Support Molly Crabapple's project here.

Sarah Chalke speaks German

(Meanwhile, Sandra Bullock sounds to my non-German ear like she really speaks it well.)

The song of Ransom

Ransom Doug Wellington
Is in many a chilly song
When his son was bad beat
He sold off his meat
And made dining room chairs from the skellington

Drawing is ballpoint and pencil on watercolor paper, with a little Photoshop processing. 

Thanks to Iain M. Banks for inspiration towards this limerick and drawing, found in one of his wonderful Culture novels, Use Of Weapons

Ol' Joe Valence

Ol' Joseph Valence
Was a man of great talents
His knob was quite thick
And a mighty big stick
Though he used it mainly for balance

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

iPad "not 3" is out

The third generation iPad, announced today, is covered on my device blog.

Android Market checks out, Google Play moves in

Android Market checks out, Google Play moves in, article.
Beginning Tuesday, the Android Market will be known as the Google Play Store. Google's eBookstore and recently launched music service will also be part of the Google Play Store. The same selection of books, music and movies had already been available on Android Market.

The site looks nice, but "Google Play Store"?? What, "Toys R Us Too" was taken?

I'll have to check out the video store though. I've been wanting to buy video on Android, but there's not really been anything I knew of, and on the Kindle Fire, video and music is only available for USA so far.
Hmmm... seems only 48-hour rental is available here in the UK though, on Google Play. I don't know why they don't simply make it two months these days, it's not like they have to get a video casette back before they can rent it out again.

BTW, I just watched RED. Cor blimey, as the Brits say, that was a fun movie. And funny. I'm a pacifist, but seeing Helen Mirren in a stylish party dress shooting a machine cannon almost the size of a small car was just fun, gotta admit it.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Which compact camera?

People often ask me which camera I recommend. I've often said "the cheapest Canon with optical stabilization will do most people very well". I've expanded a little, last week I wrote to Paul who had asked:

I would appreciate your comments/recommendation with regard to what Compact Digital Camera do you recommend me to buy?  I will use it for trips and probably end up having it inside my car to be used for those "moments". 

I answered:

If it’s not too big or expensive, my current favorite compact-ish camera is the Fuji X10. 
Smaller, but very capable, is the Canon S100. 
If you want cheaper, get any Canon compact, only make sure it has optical stabilization. 

After a little back and forth, he wrote today:

I just got the Canon S100.  I'm impressed: size, weight, overall quality and so far the photos are first rate.  I know nowadays is hard to be amazed by technology but WOW! ... how is it possible to manufacture and deliver this camera for less than $400?!
I had the intention of buying also the Fuji X10 because of their similar characteristics, but after using the Canon S100, I concluded that for the time being this is the perfect camera for me, and I can't imagine a better Price-Size-Weight-Quality relationship.
Thanks for recommending this camera. 

I agree, it’s an amazing camera. It pretty much has it all, in a tiny quality package. (It really is only cigarette-pack sized.) (If I remember right. It's been many years since I held a pack of cigarettes.) 
And it feels good in the hand too, even better than the S90 (for which I bought a grip). 

If you have this, you don’t need the Fuji X10, except if you do a lot of low-light work, or the small size of the Canon is fiddly to you. 

This is a testimonial not only to Canon's prowess, but to how far the camera industry has come, for today I would say that today it's actually hard to buy a camera which you won't be happy with, if only you've given a little thought to what size and capabilities you wanted.

Paypal Pressured To Play Morality Cop

Paypal Pressured To Play Morality Cop, article.

Monday, March 05, 2012

"The Rage Of Hell Boils In My Heart"

Rachele Gilmore’s 100 MPH Fastball, an article about opera of all things, and high performance in the arts.

Again, perhaps, we are in this area of "is it art or sport?" Does it make it better art if hardly anybody else can replicate it?

Funny enough, I found this just after having come across this snippet of a wonderful rendition of The Queen Of The Night Aria (You need QuickTime to hear this). This also obviously is very hard to sing indeed, and I even really like it as music too, wonderful melody.
iTunes had many different rendition of The Magic Flute and this song, but I didn't find one I like equally. The singers all seemed like they were stressed by the difficulty of the piece, usually doing it too fast (I guess running out of breath is a real issue).
Based on the radio show, this recording must be from before 1999. If you happen to know which one it is... ?

"Der Hölle Rache kocht in meinem Herzen" ("Hell's vengeance [rage] boils in my heart") is the actual title of the song. Mozart had balls, and humor. Other song titles in the Magic Flute include "Hm, hm, hm, hm" and "pa pa pa". Wie wunderbar. 

There's no "4" in Japan

Our reader Alex finally gone done deciding on a new camera, he got the upscale compact Panasonic Lumix LX5. Congrats, I hear it's a good one.

In a review of it, I read:
The LX5 is the fourth in the LX series, following on from the LX3, which was released in 2008. That may seem odd, but Panasonic, like other Japanese manufacturers, does not use the number 4 in its designations. This is because the number is considered unlucky in Japan, due to it being pronounced the same way as the word for ‘death’. 

Woa! And nobody told Nikon! The new flagship D4 must be dead in the water. Ooooh.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

10 Reasons to Date a Geek

10 Reasons to Date a Geek, article.

A few days ago my wife turned to me, while I was brainstorming uber-geeky topics and ideas, and told me “You should write the top 10 reasons why someone should date a geek!”.
I paused for a second and with a puzzled look told her “Well, you tell me what they are…”. I’ve been with my wife for more than 10 years now and I’ve always wondered, why the *blip* did she choose me?

Too much of a good thing

They say that Sheyla Hershey went to brazil to get her breast even bigger (reportedly she's had eight enhancements already, oh boy), but was foiled by a Brazilian law setting limits to size of breast implants!

I can't believe that her body is handling it, both the many operations and the sheer size and weight.

Anon said:

What's the point when they're obviously fake? Are there guys out there who like obviously fake tits?

Given the great number of fakies, many even more fake-looking than these (though not larger), it seems that there are many who do like them, or don't care, or can't tell the difference. It is weird indeed. Anybody heard of any surveys or whatever which sheds light on this?

Leica 25mm Summilux Review (updated)

Kirk's Take: Leica 25mm Summilux Review, article w/photos.
By amazing coincidence, here comes an article from the opposite side of the reduced-sensor fence: professional photography made with a Micro Four Thirds camera, including a new Leica lens for the format. 

This diagram below show us the huge difference in size between a full-frame sensor and a M4/3 sensor. This of course is clearly reflected in sizes, prices, and weights of the corresponding cameras. But the quality of the results of the smaller formats is crawling up every year, and is now entering professional areas. 

(The ones I talk about here are the outer/black one, the red one, and the purple one.)


"question: full frame is the most expensive type of camera, because it has the largest surface area AND the largest aperture(?) capabilities"?

Yes to the first, no to the latter. That's incidental, and large aperture lenses (like 1.4) are big and expensive, they are only there for the pros.
But the same aperture, like 2.8, gives more background blur on a larger format, for optical reasons.
(There are even bigger formats than full-frame by the way, like Hasselblad cameras at tens of thousands of dollars.)

APS-C was a failed smaller film format in the nineties. The most popular sensor size in DSLR cameras (exchangable lenses and mirrors) just happens to be about that size, 17mm x 25mm, about half the area of 35mm full-frame, 24mm x 36mm.

"35mm" is the film width for the most popular film, on which 24mm x 36mm negatives was the most used format.

4/3 and Micro Four Thirds is outdated terminology, referring to sizes of old-time video tubes!! It's about half the size of APS-C.

It is stupid that names for digital camera formats are all based on such outdated terminology, instead of just saying the actual size in millimeters. Some theorize that it's to hide how small some sensors are, I dunno.