Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cafe pic (updated)

Update: just so you know, the "Pro" part of the name of the Canon printer I've been praising is to be taken as PR, not fact. One of the things which distinguish a pro printer from an amateur printer is the capacity of the ink cartridges. The Epson A2 printer I had, had printer cartridges the size of half a VHS cassette. This Canon's cartridges are the size of a small cigarette lighter. (That's probably true of all A3 printers.) I have printed about 20 pictures, and one of them is already empty (the "photo magenta" one). (Granted, I have printed many prints with much red in them, and most of the other cartridges seem pretty full still.)


I'm trying to find out why digital BW prints often seem disappointing. There should be no reason for that. There is nothing technical that digital lacks, including the blackness of the black in prints. It's way better than the "plastic paper" that most people used in darkrooms, and the best is even better than the best baryt paper ("paper paper").
I suspect it's because digital lacks the "accutance" (artificial contrast along edges, giving the impression of sharpness) that film pictures often have. So this has to be boosted, along with contrast and such.

Around the world...

There are so many places I would like to visit and to photograph. The problem is that I just don't like traveling, the time it takes to get from place to place. Sitting captured in trains and planes... waiting in airports... standing in lines... o gawd. Traveling manages to be both stressing and boring at the same time.

Hmm. Maybe I could find an Personal-Assistant-slash-travel-companion-slash-model to go with me.
Not necessarily a nude model, and no, uhm, "favors" expected of course, but she'd have to be model material as well as have a good mind and a practical bent.

Cheerleaders of the NFL

Cheerleaders of the NFL, slide show. A friend (hi Martin) send me this because he knows of my keen interest in the noble pursuits that are sports.

Not being American, I don't know what "NFL" means. I am guessing "No Floozy Left behind".

(OK, I do know, no need to tell me. It means Nautical Foosball Liaison.)

... Wow, this one is a cutie:

S90 grip is mine

So I bought and mounted my own CGS90 (Custom Grip S90) grip (first blogged here, and found here. More data here).

It's amazing, you would never guess it was not part of the camera from factory. Actually I think it makes the camera more beautiful.

I just mounted it, so I haven't had a chance to use it yet. But I have no doubt at least that the glue will hold: I placed the grip slightly wrong and had to take it off again. And despite the fact that I had not applied any pressure to it yet, and it had had no time to settle, it took all my strength to pull it off...

Update: I've tried it a little now, and it really does make it a lot easier to shot one-handedly.

Prints in kitchen

Friday, November 27, 2009

Adding insult to injury

Did I hint recently that I sometimes feel a tiny hint of frustration when computers don't act as I expect?
Well, how about this error message for adding insult to injury?

Just keep some of what you earn

I have written about exactly this issue myself here. I keep being astounded that this keeps happening, and when I read the page shown below I yelled "I know! It's incredible!" to the empty room and my wondering neighbors who probably think I'm a little nuts anyway.

The book is The Five Lessons (a Millionaire Taught Me (about life and wealth) by Richard Evans. My friend Angelo recommended it, and it's a short and easy book to read.
The lessons are simple. But if people knew them and followed them, this would be a very different world indeed.

Plugs make me nuts, and Kindle update

Time to charge my Kindle2, and I can't find the friggin charger/cable which came with it, in the jungle of cables and chargers which I think of as my home.

I have many cables with flat USB plugs, many cables with square USB plugs, and many cables with mini-USB plugs... but the K2 has a "micro-USB-plug" for crissakes! That's at least four different plugs for one interface! What the f**k are these people thinking!

Update: I went to PC World, which is nearby, and get this: this computer/electronics store the size of a football field does not have such a cable!

But I did find the cable and charger at last, somehow it had managed to bury itself deep within the mess in one of the places I keep cables and such.

Update: on the positive side, a new software update to the Kindle 2 means longer battery life, and that it now can read PDF documents with the original layout intact. And you can now manually rotate the screen manually, which means that most PDF documents will be legible (barely) because the width of the page is used to fill the screen instead of the height. For example, I can load the thing with all my camera manuals on PDF, so I can have the manual with me anywhere, no matter which camera(s) I happen to have chosen that day.
Not to mention, of course, the huge wealth of free reading material which is available.

Jon Barry photos

Jon Barry photos. (The page will run as a slide show, but there's a pause button in upper left.)
Jon is a friend and I buy photos from him for my business. But this is the first I see of his personal work, and I'm surprised at how much I like it, because it does not happen often, especially not with work which on the surface is so "traditional" as these. There's nothing odd or surprising in these photos, and yet they're just really lovely.

Do you sell prints, Jon?
Or me, I'd gladly pay a tenner for a file with all (or many) of the photos in a size fit for the desktop on a 30-inch screen (that's four megapixels).

Uncle Ron said:
I tried to watch the whole slide show...I'll bet I watched it for at least one half hour...I was mezmerized by beauty of his work...He's sees the beauty in our world and captures it over and over and over ...He may be what you call a traditional photographer but what I would call a man with a big heart and who loves his fellow man...
I salute this man...He is one hellava photographer and artist!
Now I'm going back to watch the rest of his work...

S**t up

She's probably right about the million subjects she touches upon in three minutes, but I have to admit I find her rather irritating to listen to.

Charis Wilson is dead, alas

Edward Weston's most famous model, Charis Wilson, is dead at last, fifty years after the photographer himself. She modeled for many of his most famous nudes.
What a gorgeous woman. And a photographer and writer too she was.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Amy Gordon on kazoo

[Thanks to Jim. Although he emailed it. Tip, guys: don't email video files, find the thing on youtube instead and send a link.]

(I know I've seen this before, but I can't remember if I posted it. Ah heck.)

I love how Amy G * is so beautiful, and doing this naughty act. And notice her facial expression when she gets the thing settled. Priceless.

* Somebody flubbed: when you google amy g kazoo, her own site comes way down the list.

(By the way, from the google suggestions popping up, I can see many are wondering if it's for real. Of course not. Admittedly I have seen a girl blow smoke rings with her vagina (in Emanuelle), but a kazoo requires vocal chords.)

Artmatic prints

TTL suggested I could print some of my computer-generated drawings, so I did.

In the close-up you can see I've made (with a photoshop "action" (macro)) a thin white border and a grey matte. The grey is too light in these I find, so next time I'll make it darker to make the white line clearer.

Already earlier today I have taped up several prints on the cupboards in my kitchen. I'm considering taking down my old framed posters and just plastering every vertical surface in the place with prints of drawings and photos. It'll sure be a change, and be like a kid's room, and experience I never had, I was a very boring kid (for other kids, I mean, adults always loved me).

Assigning a printer

Does anybody know if one can assign a printer to an app (in OS X), so one does not end up printing emails on five-dollar photo paper?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Canon Pixma Pro9000 Mark II

Dude, my new printer is outstanding. Just for fun I tried to print one of those fractal Mandelbrot images, and the printer beat my expectations in: 1) speed (less than two minutes for a full A3), 2) quietness (I could barely hear it working in the next room), 3) sharpness, and 4) colors. The details and color just pop. Awesome for home-made posters.

I also printed the leaf-picture on the right (from this set). The first try was not bad, but did not "pop" like I'd hoped. So I went to the glossy, fancy paper. And also I remembered something: that printed pictures usually look darker and less saturated than they do on the screen, it's just in the nature of things, so you have to compensate for that. And also sharpen them a bit more for print. And my second print of that one really does pop. Nice stuff.

To be honest I think the glossy paper was much less important than the adjustments I made. Unlike in darkroom days, there's nothing at all inferior about matte paper.
Update: yep, I tested it now: there is nothing inferior about the matte paper at all, but it's a third of the price and does not have reflections. And if you're going to mount a print behind glass, glossy paper makes no sense anyhow.
Second update: oddly enough, though, the paper does make a difference with a (faintly sepia) BW photo. The details stand out somewhat better on the glossy. But how clear the difference is also depends on the light. Clearly inkjet printing is not bereft of the complexities we are used to in this world.

A tip by the way: I think it helps almost any print to have a grey border instead of a white (or black) one. It just lets the tones and colors come into their own fully.

Man, when I remember the black magic and back-breaking work you had to go through to make good pictures in a darkroom. And that was just black-and-white. For color it was... well, nigh impossible, and even if you were good, there was no way of controlling contrast, local tone and detail, and all the things you can do at the flick of a mouse today.

The Muppets: Bohemian Rhapsody

Beth found this gem. Man, it's really friggin' good.
See high rez here. (HD button in lower right of the video frame.)

New printer

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Visual gag of the week

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

One last mouthful

An elderly Italian man lay dying in his bed. While suffering the agonies of impending death, he suddenly smelled the aroma of his favorite ravioli wafting up the stairs.

He gathered his remaining strength, and lifted himself from the bed. Gripping the railing with both hands, he crawled downstairs.

When he reached the bottom of the stairs, he leaned against the door frame, gazing into the kitchen, where if not for death's agony, he would have thought himself already in heaven for there, spread out upon waxed paper on the kitchen table were hundreds of his favorite raviolis.

Was it heaven? Or was it one final act of love from his wife of sixty years, to be sure he left this world a happy man?

He threw himself towards the table, landing on his knees in a crumpled posture. His parched lips parted, the wondrous taste of the ravioli was already in his mouth.

With a trembling hand he reached up to the edge of the table, when suddenly he was smacked with a wooden spoon by his wife.
"Va fanculo!" she said, "Questi sono per il funerale!"
(Translation - &^%$-off! ....... these are for the funeral)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Orange Leica

Speaking as one who once owned an orange iMac (back when they were CRT), I don't have anything against the color. But to be honest I think combining it with with a Leica M7 is a mis-step. For one thing thing it clashes, for another thing it breaks one of the primary strengths of the Leica: the unobtrusiveness.

Cute girls are ALWAYS popular

Thanks to

Pentax all-weather camera

Pentax all-weather camera review.
Looks cool too.