Saturday, January 16, 2010

Shooting in continuous mode

I make a note with this, since I have not heard of this before, and it may be relevant to more cameras than just the Pentax K-x.
It is very fast, almost five frames per second. The pro Canon 5D does not even have that.
But there was an oddity, it stopped after just three frames in Continuous Shooting mode! That's less handy.
So I googled for a Pentax K-x forum, and the closest thing seemed to the DPreview Pentax page, so I asked there. (It's a good place to get help for any brand.) And I got advised to turn of the Image Correction features, which correct distortion and/or color fringing in-camera.
And that did it, now the camera just rippppps away. Cool, in such a small camera. (Not that I often use continuous mode, but it's handy when shooting action.)

By the way, does anybody know how I can order one of those really colorful copies? (Also featured on tOP.) (Style simulator page.) (The page is slow to load, and has continual music, something I think should never have been allowed on the WWW, but fortunately you can turn it off on the right.)
Update: thanks to Mike Johnston and Dirk for pointing me here.

Plastic Bertrand: Ca Plane Pour Moi

A "blast from the past".

Reality Scanner

[Thanks to 1001noisycamera]

Reality Scanner photos.

(The German title says, I think, "What's there to laugh about?")

Spiritually I much prefer the serene Buddhas to the laughing ones, but this one is damn funny.

Pentax shake-reduction

It turns out that Pentax's "shake reduction"*, built into the body (so every lens benefits) is more useful than I thought at first. Only one has to know to pause for half a second after focusing, until the SR symbol lights up in the finder, indicating it has "caught its legs".
These were taken, single exposure, with the 70mm lens, a 105mm-equivalent short-tele lens.
Conventional wisdom, pre-stablization-technology, gives a rule of thumb that the inverse of the focal length is about the minimum for hand-holding a sharp picture, so in this case about 1/100 second.
They are shown at about 100% (small part of the image).

Half a second, no shake-reduction:

Half a second, with shake-reduction:

A quarter second, no SR:

A quarter second, with SR:

One-eight second, no SR:

One-eight second, with SR:

A fifteenth-second, no SR:

A fifteenth-second, with SR:

One-thirtieth second, no SR:

One-thirtieth second, with SR:

* Every maker calls it their own thing, Nikon calls it Vibration Reduction, Canon calls it Image Stabilization, etc.

It's shameful that Nikon/Canon have not yet put this in bodies (only in some lenses), when it can be put in the cheapest/smallest bodies by their competitors! What a waste to use $1500 on a low-light F:1.4 lens by Canon and then not have stabilisation as well!

Friday, January 15, 2010

"Life" documentary

(Talk about too-generic titles... it's the bane of search engines.)

"Life", BBC documentary:
I just got it today on blu-ray, and there's no debating it, it is just stunningly filmed. I'd love to know more about those cameras which can film such super-slow-motion, and film close-ups of the heads of insects, live!

Web shopping addiction

So, this is what it looks like when a web shopping addiction combines with long postal delays due to first xmas and then extreme weather. All this came at once today:

I laughed loudly when the postman brought in this big stack.
I have only vague ideas what's in them all. Though I know some of must have been on the way for three-four weeks.
Feels like xmas of my childhood to open them all. :-)

And I'm not even the worst, I know about a girl living close, who gets two or three books and such in the mail every day!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


Talking about compact lenses, DPreview has an article about the need for better M4/3 lenses.
I agree. The M4/3 system really needs, for example, a lovely, compact portrait lens like my Pentax 70mm.

Hello Kitty Darth

Thanks to Gail.

And [thanks to Bruce] from Cnet:

(How strange: the Cnet story credits the photographer, but not the artist!)

Flying in the USA

"Flying in the USA"
"Back in the USSR"

M. Reichman tells about flying now.
But, then when we got to the gate area we encountered a new and separate security area. Here each passenger received a complete body pat down, and we were also ask extensive questions, such as when had we bought our tickets, from whom, had we made any changes to our travel plans, etc. [...] My camera bag had every camera body and lens removed and closely examined.

I have a few friends in the US I'm wanting to visite, and I've been waiting patiently since you-know-when for the security hysteria of the USA to calm down, but it seems it may not do so in our lifetimes. I'm not going, in that atmosphere.

(Mike's article also has tips for packing for flights, for photographers.)

Mist and me

I'm finding more and more that I enjoy just playing with photography, rather than always be dead-serious about it. It's just dang fun.

DPreview and the filth

The famous DPreview site tells about their run-ins with the valiant UK police (lovingly called "the filth" by your gentle cockneys), motto: "we will not rest until we have harassed every single amateur and professional photographer in the country in the name of national security".
This is the form we were given after being stopped while taking some sample images of City Hall on the More London estate. [...]
The pointlessness of the exercise becomes obvious when you type ‘City Hall’ and ‘London’ into the web’s favourite search engine. The image search yields 1,330,000 results, most of them showing the building’s exterior and interior, from all conceivable angles, in all sizes and resolutions.

Interesting development:
... the Section 44 stop-and-search powers have been ruled illegal by the European court of Human Rights.

Readable again

Repost: after months of use, I'm really appreciating the Readable App, which pulls out the main text from complex web pages and makes it maximally readable according to your preferences of text size, color etc.
(On the rare occasion it fails, the similar Readability service may help.)

Rollei evolution

Below are pictures of Rollei cameras, first the newest one from the company, under new owners, and after, the kinds of cameras they used to make. It's nice to see nice respect for core competence and lineage!

Rollei today:

Rollei yesteday:

Boom Boom Boom

Repost: John Lee Hooker versus ZZ Top playing Boom Boom Boom (MP3 file). For lovers of either blues or rock guitars.

The Terminator franchise

From Wikipedia:
In late October 2009, Halcyon announced it would auction off the rights to future Terminator material and is seeking $60-70 million, though thus far the only offer has been significantly less at $10,000 by director Joss Whedon.

OK, I offer $15.000. Really. Anybody know where I'll go to tell them?

Pentax 70mm DA lens

Doesn't this look like a "Normal" lens to you? Even a compact one. But it's actually a tele lens, Pentax 70mm 2.4 (105mm equivalent). This is a perfect focal length for many things, not the least of which is portraits (due to the neutral perspective you get, and the added distance to the camera, which feels good for the model).

Tradition dictates that "street photography" be done with a 35mm lens, but I think that a short tele like this will pick out subjects and at the same time not seem so offensive as a zoom, which always is large.

Despite being so compact, this lens is a reasonably fast F:2.4, and more importantly, it's wonderfully crisp even at full aperture, and it has beautiful bokeh (the quality of the background blur). See samples at full opening below (straight from the camera except for down-scaling for Blogger). I'm very pleased with it.

By the way, a defining characteristic of this and the other Pentax "Limited" lenses (not in fact a limited edition) is a highly pleasing all-metal construction quality. They are just beautiful objects. I would love if Pentax would make a camera in matching quality, black metal body.

The picture of the camera is taken in my window sill, and the red thingy is a "Y-strap", which I quite like. It also makes a pretty good wrist strap if you wrap it a couple of times around your wrist. (It's better for that than normal camera straps.)

(NeutralDay reviews the K-x and compares the K-x with Nikon D3000.)

Stargate Studios Virtual Backlot Reel 2009

What you see ain't what you get.
Thanks to Jim.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Third & The Seventh

[Thanks to tOP]
The Third & The Seventh, a web video of sorts.

I have no clue why it's called that. But it may be the most awesome video I've ever seen on the web. Don't miss it.

And somehow they serve it in real time in a resolution which fills my 30-inch screen too.

I did not even realize for a while that most of it is CG. Even the beautiful old cameras! They look so real.
Some is photographed, though, like birds, grass, flowers.
And apparently the photographer, though he looked the least real of all to me!

But I think it's a milestone in web art video.

10 Little Known Facts from the World of Photography

10 Little Known Facts from the World of Photography, post by Miserere.
Good fun. Read why Marilyn Monroe's butt was on HC-B's camera.

Modern Art Movements To Inspire Your Logo Design

Modern Art Movements To Inspire Your Logo Design, article.

Wacky Science Winners

[Thanks to Tommy]

Michal Daniel interview

I love Michal's eye. For example he could make a whole exhibition alone just from the pictures he has taken from the same window, with great variety and beauty.

E/S: What attracts you to street photography?

Michal Daniel: Street photography is what attracted me to making photos in the first place. I'm a voyeur by nature, always have been, before I even picked up a camera. With the camera, I can make the moments of voyeurism last longer. Back in the early 70s, I started with a Leica M4. I lived in England for three years, and it was there that I saw a Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibit, of close to 300 prints. Blew my mind! I beelined for a bookstore, bought Henri-Cartier Bresson Photographer, and proceeded to study every image, through the viewfinder of my Leica, to try and understand exactly what he did.

E/S: What cameras do you use, and what is each kind good for?

These days, I make money as a live entertainment photographer. With the latest, greatest Canon gear. But, that is much like shooting fish in a barrel. So, to spice things up, about ten years ago I picked up the now way discontinued Eyemodule2, the camera add-on for the now also done and gone Handspring organizer. 640x480 resolution, massive shutter delay, crappy lens, HUGE challenge! I enjoyed it up to now, but last year I started to feel a bit stale with it. Then I read about the ARAX 6x6. Ordered it that day. It's HUGE, heavy, slow, and totally manual. Love having to come back to where I started, but harder. I mean, you can hide a Leica in the pocket. No way to hide the ARAX! So, I'm discovering a whole now way to work. For years, I've been completely hidden with my Eyemodule2. Don't mind me, just organizing here, is all I'd project to my photo subjects. I got as close to them as is possible, without them knowing I was making pictures. With the ARAX, the exact opposite is in play. They know. They really, really know. I am in their face, with a HUGE tool. So, it's sort of full spiral, for me. Started with street stealth and a Leica, worked my way to near invisibility with the Eyemodule2, now out in the open and communicating with my subjects, with the ARAX.

E/S: What kind of pictures do you hope to achieve?

Portraits and glimpses of real life. Nothing fake or faked, just what I see as I make my way through the day, translated to photos. Incongruities are my favorites. Nothing like one part of the image saying one thing and the other saying something else altogether. And humor, of course. If I can crack people up, I'm happy!

E/S: Thanks Michal!


Michal told me about the Arax camera, and as a collector, I just had to get one:

It is an impressive camera, and a fun camera, but as the very reasonable price should clue you in to, it's not an all that good camera. The finder is dark and small and can't be used with glasses, and it does not even have an instant-return mirror, something which has been standard for over 30 years.
But heck, I just got it for the love of cool gear.

More twitting

I'm still a bit confused by Twitter... I'm still trying to figure out (in the Kiwi app) which messages show up where, when they are private and when public, etc etc.
But if you can stand to be so super-connected, it surely is useful.
Thanks for example to the 1001NoisyCamera's blog's tweet for plugging me being on Twitter and also my "5D2 contrast set" of pictures. (I do feel they represent an important step for me as a photographer.)

Chicks, machines, and the sixties

Chicks, machines, and the sixties, what more do you want?


BTW, thanks to Ray for pointing me to the code for the "Share" button which is now under the posts. Use it freely! :-)

Total Tyk Trunte

Again same actor in both parts.
Sorry about the mis-synchronisation. It is fine on my machine, and I've uploaded it twice.

The song is about the results of having picked up and frigged a "Big Beautiful Woman".

Updated: dolphins mud-ring feeding

Will somebody tie down that guy's hands?
Series looks kewl of course.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Kids and war

A thought just struck me:

If some kids behaved the way that adults behave when they wage war, those kids would be labeled psychotically violent sociopaths.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Bernard Tate painting

This painting is by my friend Bernard Tate.

Trees and cutters

Our ol' friend, Ray in Vancouver, took this awesome picture today.
I think it looks like a pointillist picture, while also being a good photo.

Update: Personally I am moving away from the thinking that technical perfection always is an important factor in the enjoyment of a picture.
But if we look at the characteristic of this picture (grain/mush) technically, why did that happen? I just thought of something: probably the camera is set to automatic ISO setting? And it was a dull day, and a very long zoom setting (over 500mm-e!), so probably the camera dialed the ISO setting way up beyond what the sensor can really deliver, and so the pic got noise and mushy (the latter due to the noise suppression).

(You can't actually change the sensitivity of a sensor, you can only amplify the signal from it, and that's what the ISO setting does. And so it also amplifies the noise, of course.)

snap portrait

Now, arms-length portraits always suffer from the unflattering wide-angle perspective of the short distance, so...
But I discovered that the light weight and the deep finger grip of the Pentax K-x makes it very easy to one-hand-hold, so I just snapped off this shot as a test, and found that I like the colors and composition of it.

The composition and the blue and warm colors, everything, completely accidental! Or at least it did not come from my little mind, since I couldn't see the screen and didn't try to compose anything...
Not to mention that it's hand-held indoors at night, and only barely blurry for it.

Painting by Bernard Tate.

Steve Crane photos

Steve Crane photos and blog.

tOP's Camera Of The Year

A humongous post on tOP: Camera Of The Year. Bound to be lots of cool observations like usual.
There are some interesting observations on the Pentax K-x, for example. What some of us saw as a dreadful thing, the many bright color-variations they sell it in, has contributed to make it a hit.
I'm reconsidering my negative reaction to the look of the white K-x. The camera feels really good in the hand, and is fast (albeit a little noisy (but no more so than classic SLRs, I discover)). And maybe the different look will make people react differently to it. And... well, it's growing on me, a little bit.

Twitter too

I've decided to give Twitter another chance, for those small thoughts which are really too short and disconnected for a blog post. Follow me here.

(I've also made a tweet for Domai announcements.)

If you use Twitter, it should also be an easy way to keep up with new posts here, if I remember to notify about them.

It seems to me that Twitter easily gets used as a chat channel... does it? And does this not cripple it a little bit?

Is there a way to turn off seeing everybody else's tweets on somebody's home page? And is there a way to make an "@" tweet private?
Update: yes, it seems there's a "direct message", but it's not obvious how one does that...

Kindle video

Is it me, or does the promotional video for the KindleDX look and feel exactly like the videos Apple was doing a few years ago? (It's a bit down the page, the "See What Customers Have to Say" one.)

Mädchen, Mädchen Orgasm Scenes

Pascal was doing a little research into why my "Domai Faces" video has been put into the adult section of YouTube (I think because of the link/domain), and he found two cute videos (and a bit sexy) about girls and bicycles, this one and this one.

iPhone Steadycam

iPhone Steadycam? It's a crazy world.

Translation issue

One of my friends is translating a personality test from Swedish to English.
(The original question is: "Klarar du av stillasittande arbete en hel dag utan att bli rastlös?")

Possible translations are:
"Can you manage a full day of work, sitting down, without getting
"Can you manage a full day of sedentary (sitting) work without getting

The question is if these are clear English. Any suggestions?

Businessman arrested for ‘anti-gipsy’ email

Businessman is arrested in front of wife and son... for ‘anti-gipsy’ email that he didn’t even write, article.
"Council staff believed the email was offensive because ‘likey’ rhymes with the derogatory term ‘pikey’."

Are you fucking kidding!? Do we now have to consider the possible rhymes of every word we write?

And to my mind: even if the man had written the mail, and if he hated gypsies... so what? If he goes out and sticks their vans on fire, do arrest him, but if you had to arrest all the people in the UK who had ever uttered something vaguely racist, then I think there would be more people in the prisons than outside them!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Scott Church

Thanks to Sean for pointing out that apparently Vimeo allows some nudity.
For example this one by Scott Church. (Also noteworthy in that I at least would have thought, based on the video, that the shoot was failed or far from done, but he got a very nice image from it.)

Low light and modern cameras

Here's a quote from the discussion under the Red Truck night picture post.

eolake said...
... I looked up the file, that pic was taken at F:3.5 and 1/25th second. (1600 ISO, 35mm lens.)

I'm still mad at Canon and Nikon for not building in stabilization in the camera bodies, many of the best lenses don't have it, and if I'd had it, I could have gained a stop or two for this shoot, would have been nice to have been able to shoot at 1/10th second and F:4.5.

Anna said...
1600, and 3,5 !
I thought 1600 would be much more noisy, and 3,5 much more blurred...
Maybe I have to revise part of my knowledge... :-)

Eolake said...
The Canon 5D2 is one of the best in high-ISO quality, partly because it's full-frame, and big/expensive. But like I said, the newest smaller DSLRs are pretty dang close now.

With a wideangle lens, the depth-of-field is much greater.

For somebody with more patience than me, it might be simpler simply using a tripod.

So I just wanted to test what I was claiming, and shot this picture on automatic, hand-held at night (not even leaning on the window sill), with the Pentax K-x with kit lens. By amazing coincidence, it fell exactly on 1600 ISO and F:3.5! And it was at 18mm zoom setting (equivalent of 28mm wideangle), and 1/25th second.
And you can see that this is also very good quality, even though it's an affordable camera and not full-frame like my 5D2. (And I have not even done any noise reduction.)

Here it is with (Nik software) noise reduction (software, often a Photoshop plug-in, which reduces noise in photos, though often at the cost of detail):

I think you'll agree that's dang good low-light quality, and it's hand-held and with an entry-level DSLR with kit lens, around $600 or so.
(If you're interested, the original file is here.)

(Note: with such slow shutter-times hand-held, you should take a few exposures of each picture, to get one sharp one. Also, while the Pentax has built-in anti-shake, it's not the most powerful in the biz, sadly.)

... But a weird and slightly unfortunate characteristic about the Pentax is that, just like my old Pentax ME-Super, it tends to underexpose. Strange. I wonder if it's a philosophy of some kind that Pentax has.
Gawd, the number of under-exposed negatives I got back in the day before I found out that a camera's ASA (ISO) setting is not set in stone...

Good discussion

Mike at tOP took up the subject of good/bad jobs that I blogged recently, and it has generated many interesting comments.

Adventures of Mark Twain

Part Two.

dark pictures... (and bright ones)

I went against my education here, and just killed all the detail in the shadows in Photoshop. It's not "right" technically, but it made the pictures more interesting, to me.
I quite like these now, actually. As straight photos, they were quite boring. Perhaps I have something to learn about going past Correct Technique.

And here are some you might call the "opposite":

These look interesting on a white background, so most of the edge disappears.

(Canon 5D2, 24mm F:1.4, set at 8.0 and ISO 640. Though these pretty much could be taken with any camera. At least until/if they are printed big.)

I've taken many photos of the snow in the past couple weeks, find them on my blog.