Saturday, October 03, 2009

Follow-up on British coppers

New article re the ongoing debacle of the British police sometimes harassing photographers for no good reason.
What sounds nice is this...
Featured Comment by David Miller: "Getting well into my grey panther years, I summoned up a bit of long-languishing young revolutionary spirit on a recent five week walking holiday around England—I thought it would be a bit of a lark to get myself arrested for photographing a policeman, and set out to snap everything in uniform from Southampton to Carlisle. Complete waste of time: none of the coppers so much as raised an eyebrow, and when I began to ask them about the law I couldn't find a single one who had heard of it. 'Sounds a bit daft to me,' was the usual response. And during our stay we saw several televised news items which displayed the constabulary in a far-from-flattering light. When it comes down to it, this may be a bit of a tempest in a teapot."

M9 review (updated)

Mike Reichman reviews Leica M9.
"Using a digital M Leica also means not being able to shoot more than 2 FPS, having limited high ISO capability, needing to remove the camera's bottom plate to get at the battery and even the SD card, not having dust shake removal or image stabilization.... In other words, a digital M Leica is in many ways a limited camera from the perspective of the all-singing, all-dancing polycarbonate wonders that are available for a tenth the price from any of the major Japanese camera makers. Get over it! Why?" ...

Michael has been a major Leica user and fan, even professionally, for many decades, so he knows whereof he talks. He sez Leica has now made the Digital M Leica which is worthy of the name.

Me, I have never used a Leica, so I could be wrong, but I'm not sure I could live without exact framing and autofocus. But then there's the mysterious newly announced Leica X1 which seems to have both, not being a rangefinder. But then, is it really better than for example the Micro-Four-Thirds cameras? I'm sure it has an outstanding lens, but Panasonic's lenses are excellent also, and I doubt the difference will be such that you'll notice it if you're not really looking for it.
Ah, it's a tough job being a connoisseur, but somebody's gotta do it. I think. Maybe. Well, let's not go there.

Update: I'm a bit shocked to see that the 18MP Leica is clearly sharper than both a Canon 21MP camera, and a Sony 24MP camera. I'd like to know more about how much of this is due to the lens, and how much is due to Leica being, so far as I know, the only maker of a 35mm-sized camera who has chosen not to put a "low-pass" (or "AA") filter in it. That filter is a solution to the colored sheen (like oil on water) one can sometimes get when photographing fabrics, due to interference patterns. However, this is not a common problem, it can be solved later in software if it occurs, and worst, the filter lowers the sharpness of the pictures. I hope more makers will choose to do without it in the future. Why work so hard to put more and more megapixels in the things, and then put in a blurring filter?

Another quote:
"In the case of the M9 I have no doubt that the combination of the sensor and Leica M lenses is producing image quality that is easily equal to the best that I've ever seen for any camera with the exception of 39MP and 60MP medium format backs, which are also CCD based devices without AA filters. And yes, this includes the Canon 1Ds MKIII and Nikon D3x."
[...] "A Nikon D3x or a Canon 1Ds MKIII can be used as a point and shoot. For all of their sophistication and complexity, with these and similar cameras one can completely remove oneself from the process and just press the shutter. With an M9 that is not the case. Because it is resolutely manual focus the camera demands that you become involved in the photographic process. This is another aspect of the Zen of Leica M Photography. There's no slacking off. There's no fully auto-everything mode. You must at least manually choose an aperture and you must always focus by eye."


Friday, October 02, 2009

They laugh at Letterman

David Letterman was blackmailed for having had sex with employees.
A reader wrote to me regarding how it went when David went public with this problem:
Poor dude: he's trying to be completely vulnerable and candid w/his STUPID audience about a very serious matter that happened to him, a few days ago, and they just will NOT STOP laughing! :-(

Good point. You'd think people should be able to tell when he is joking and when he is not.
On the other hand he is making a very good living at making people laugh at other people all the time. Also, they hand-pick these audiences specifically to get the people who laugh at everything, to make the host seem very witty. So he's hung by his own noose, I guess.

I also think it's a problem comedians have often: they have people geared up to expect jokes from them all the time. So when they are serious, often people either think they are still joking, or are bored with them because they want the comedy.
One of the greatest Danish comedians of all time, Dirch Passer, had to give up playing in serious plays, because he could not walk on stage without people start to laugh before he even opened his mouth! True story.

Jung und Frei

Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves. -- Carl Jung

Apple tablet?

Is the looooong-rumored (at least seven years) Apple tablet device finally coming?
One article is talking about an 11-inch screen. I would have preferred something larger, even if the resolution is iPod-like rather than laptop-like. Some web pages are fucking complex, scuse my francais. Also if the device is meant to really threaten newspapers with their big pages of easily-scanned information, you need a big page.

Nine years ago I told a friend, a newspaper-store owner, that he needed to consider the future of his trade. Look ten years ahead, I told him, you'll see. It seems that was a wee bit optimistic, but it'll happen.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Olga's eyes

Write to me

So I had a great (working) vacation, most of the week's work is done early, and I feel great. But for some reason my inbox is unusually quiet today, and I'm a little bored. So if there's something you've thought of saying to me at some point, now is the time. Post it here, or e-mail me, your choice.

Hasselblad focus invention

You gotta say it for the Swedish/Danish camera maker: they do work very, very hard. This is the fourth major generation of their medium format digital system in what, eight years or so. For medium format, that is very fast indeed. And it's not like it's crap they churn out either. :-)

The new H4D camera contains a surprise: invention in autofocus. Who saw that coming from Scandinavia, or in medium format? The autofocus actually takes the motion of the camera into consideration, via a mechanism like the one in the Wii handset. How much of a difference it makes is up to reviewers and history to decide, but it's a very cool idea.

You remember my comment about Europeans tending to be more understated? Well, Danish Hasselblad CEO Christian Poulsen has not heard of it. Here's a quote: "We believe it's the most important innovation in at least 10 years." (Within autofocus? Or in everything on planet Earth?)

Talking about high-end cameras, Michael Reichman has field-tested the brand-new Leica M9.

Sightings of less than optimal observation

[Thanks to David. Orginal source unknown.]

Sightings of less than optimal observation powers

We had to have the garage door repaired. The Sears repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a large enough motor on the opener. I thought for a minute, and said that we had the largest one Sears made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower. He shook his head and said, 'Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower.' I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4. He said, 'NO, it's not. Four is larger than two.'

My daughter and I went through the McDonald's take-out windowand I gave the clerk a $5 bill. Our total was $4.25, so I also handed her a quarter. She said, 'you gave me too much money.' I said, 'Yes I know, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back.' She sighed and went to get the manager who asked me to repeat my request. I did so, and he handed me back the quarter, and said 'We're sorry but they could not do that kind of thing.' The clerk then proceeded to give me back$1 and 75 cents in change.

I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the DEER CROSSING sign on our road. The reason: 'Too many deer are being hit by cars out here! I don't think this is a good place for them to be crossing anymore'

My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for 'minimal lettuce.' He said he was sorry, but they only had iceberg lettuce.

I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge? To which I replied, 'If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?' He smiled knowingly and nodded, 'That's why we ask.'

The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it's safe to cross the street. I was crossing with an coworker of mine. She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, What one arth are blind people doing driving?

I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the sake of her life, couldn't understand why her computer would not turn on.

When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership topick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver's side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. Hey,' I announced to the technician, 'its open!' His reply, 'I know. I already got that side.

Interspecies harmony

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Invisible Man: Liu Bolin

[Thanks to Uncle Ron.]
The Invisible Man: Liu Bolin. Apparently he paints himself. That's gotta be tricky.
One gallery and another.

Olympus, praise the little differences

I once talked about how interesting it is how very different two women can be, and yet both be very beautiful. The same goes, I think, for cameras... (for those who are not familiar with them, not only do they look very different, but the Nikon was/is big, and the Olympus amazingly compact.)

... And apropos both Olympus and women, here is a funny ad. Something like this could only happen in the early seventies, the same time we had naked ballet in the Royal Theatre in Copenhagen.

Democracy and rightness

Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half the time.
-- E. B. White

This is funny, and of course flies in the face of the idea that with democracy, you automatically get the right or best solution.

But... I actually think democracy is very simply a way to keep fighting to a minimum. "We're seven guys who want to paint the boat green, and only four of you who want to paint it red. You wanna make something of it?"

Old camera, new pictures (updated)

[Update: turns out the photographer is an octogenarian, out with bicycle and camera. See comments for links.]

More pictures here.
You won't believe how primitive a camera Herman Krieger used to make these wonderful, timeless shots.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Untethered space walk

Untethered space walk.

Million to one apple is half red, half green

Million to one apple is half red, half green, article.

More dancing with Beyonce

TC Girl, like me being a fan of Arianna's dancing to Beyonce, found an even younger fan's attempt. Concidering that he clearly is just learning to walk, I think he does a very good job at it.

I love how some performers can get hold of audiences of literally all ages. I once walked past a kindergarten where they played Aqua's Barbie Girl, and the toddlers were all dancing and rocking their hearts out. And I just loved that these little spontaneous creatures were fans of the same song as somebody like me, a stiff, crusty, over-educated, near-middleaged man.

And also I worked for a while at a nursing home, and one of the brighter octogenarians, lovely lady, told me she was quite fond of rock music, and we talked about David Bowie and his then-current disc, Black Noise White Tie.

Anonymous said...
People who claim to be over-educated usually have just the bare minimum. One woman once claimed to be while having only a BA.

eolake said...
Yes, I thought you might pounce on this, my friend. I used "over-educated" here as shorthand for the condition you can find yourself in even at a young age, where didactic education has knocked most of the spontaneous joy-of-life and curiosity out of you. This happens to most people.